There Are Other Ways | Teaching Self-Government

There Are Other Ways

A Bug's Life Leaf

A few years ago, Paije, my daughter who was seven at the time, asked, “Why do all the ants get flustered when the leaf drops in their path on the movie, 'A Bug's Life'?” What a question. I had never really taken the time to analyze that part of the movie — probably because I never really liked that show. But, a huge light bulb went off! Questions are wonderful. They open the mind to different avenues of thought. 

The ants in "A Bug's Life" were all busy carrying food to the “offering pile” via a conveyor belt type system. For generations of ants, the food had been moved in this manner. Therefore, this was the only way they knew to get the food to the “offering pile.” Consequently, when there was an obstruction in the path, they didn’t know what to do. A professional ant then came to help them find their way around the leaf and to stop panicking. 

Our society isn’t so different from the little ants portrayed in this 1998 Disney movie. We all move through our lives doing about the same things, and when something goes wrong we panic and immediately seek professional help. It's not my intent to discredit professionals. My intent is to illustrate that as a culture we've lost the ability to change ourselves.  God gave all people the ability to reason and think with the intent to improve. He does not want us to merely fit in with what is going on around us and then look to others to put us back on the main track when we fall off. 

This same scenario applies to parenting as well. For generations, we've been told not to spank our children. Instead, we should become their friends instead of their parents. I don’t think spanking works, and I do want to have a close relationship with my children, but I also know that our society needs parents who really understand how to teach good behaviors and problem solve the struggles of parenthood themselves. 

Parents who know how to inspire vision in their children, discipline themselves in their own behaviors, and understand effective communication will produce children who can do the same, especially if they're the main positive influence in the child’s life.  If the child spends most of their time with other people or outside influences, then the parental powers of influence could become ineffective. If we can change the way we think of our role as parents, then our society will change to being a people who know how to effectively govern themselves and solve the problems around them.