Comments Off on Ladybug, the Almighty Peace Ambassador
Regine’s father, an Irish Catholic native of Minnesota, joined the Peace Corps. While on assignment, he fell in love with and married her mother, a diminutive woman from the Dominican Republic. Today, Regine is a petite 3rd grader attending Golden Lake Elementary in Circle Pines. Her blended background makes her visibly unique and, for some, difficult to put into tidy descriptive boxes. She is moderately popular but not without pointed dislike from some of her classmates, namely Ethan Harris.
During a recent class break, she sat in the schoolyard under a blossoming maple tree. Spring recently arrived but lingering still was the residue chill of the winter gone by. She thought about the freshness of the season and the vastness of good things her future held. Suddenly, a blue ball rolled passed and bounced off the maple trunk behind her. Her shoulders sank with distress when she saw that the ball came from Ethan who was menacingly approaching with a smug expression.
“Why do you sit by yourself? It makes you look weirder than you already are…” Ethan chided as he bent down to retrieve the ball. Anticipating more ill-mannered comments, Regine defensively shifted in the grass and turned her back to him.
She heard him take in his breath and say aloud, “Hey!” then felt him reach out to her. Her entire frame tensed in readiness for the usual push or shove but it did not come. “You have a ladybug on your back!” Twisting her head and torso counterclockwise, she could see a small shiny red bump crawling up her left shoulder. Without thought, the corners of her mouth curled up. Defensively, her eyes darted to Ethan but there on his face was a similar, but modest, smile. She looked at him with guarded anticipation but his assault did not resume. Instead, he joyfully bounced the ball once, turned, and then skipped back to his friends. The tension burst away from her like a released wave and the ladybug tumbled into the air towards the branches of the tree.
Back in class, Regine felt protected, rather overshadowed, by her teacher’s command. Invisibility, she was learning, provided her a measure of safety.
Today’s lesson focused on insects, which inspired plenty of class vocalization. “I hate bugs,” exclaimed Melody. “I like worms,” confessed Mike. “Beetles freak me out,” shared Jennifer. “As long as they don’t fly!” affirmed Benjamin.
Mike, who sat directly behind Regine stood up from his desk so quickly that the back of his knees pushed his chair. Startled, Regine turned around to see him pointing at the top of her head with a smile, “Regine has a ladybug on her head!” With dread, she witnessed the teacher approach, accompanied by the spotlight of attention she controlled. Bending over the top of Regine’s head the teacher asked, “Tell me students, what do you think of ladybugs?”
Despite the din of activity above her, Regine was distinctly absorbed by the ladybug’s impact on her classmates. Only moments before, Melody and Jennifer passionately professed their dislike for bugs and beetles. Benjamin, who was specifically wary of flying insects, leaned in with a smile and even Ethan, who had demonstrated his heavy hand on her shoulder more than once, delicately extended his index finger to touch it. She noticed that students, who didn’t get along, now peacefully shared space.
How is it that such a small creature could, so profoundly, cross numerous prejudicial boundaries? It brought people, previously separated by varying resolute opinions, together under one shared emotion – joy. Her classmates no longer saw a flying insect rather they simply felt joy. Joy changed the way people saw the world and all the things in it. Joy united them.
Man alone assigns varying importance. Nature values its tenants equally. The same amount of effort that goes into creating the sun goes into creating an insect, therefore in each resides equally potent lessons about purpose and self-worth. Yes, even the diminutive creatures offer valuable lessons for us. Shaboo Prints realizes the universal magnetism of animals and insects, despite their size and appearance, and metaphorically employs them to spotlight the elegance and value of our own individuality.
With much admiration for you,
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