A Big Lesson from Tiny Ants
The other day I was walking to the post office when I happened to look down just in time to avoid stepping on a pair of ants. Ordinarily I do not hold ants in such high regard, nor worry about their well-being, but not this time. These ants each held the end of something about twice the size of themselves. In my haste, I did not see what the item was they were so diligently moving, but their cooperation and hard work so impressed me in that instant that my foot moved of its own accord to avoid ending their efforts. Here were two tiny insects, working in accord to accomplish a large task for the greater good. By instinct, they were doing what “vastly superior” humans must learn: cooperation and teamwork. Ants live in a colony, depending on each and every member to contribute for the survival of all. We are much like the ants in that regard. We depend on our family, community and government for support and assistance, because life is simply too difficult to go completely alone. Yet that is our instinct: to do it on our own. Most of us resist asking for help and have difficulty accepting support, even when we need it most. Yet these miniscule ants know instinctively how to work in harmony for the good of themselves and their family and community. As children, we are not afraid to ask for help. It’s essential to our survival and we instinctively know that. As we grow up, however, we are taught to be self-reliant, which we do need to be to a certain extent. But the lesson of “you can do it yourself” should also be accompanied by a lesson on “let’s do it together.” When we see someone struggling to open a door or juggle two kids while loading the groceries, we shouldn’t be uncomfortable asking if she needs help, or just simply grabbing the bag of groceries or the door and making a person’s life that much easier, even if for only a moment. The small things add up. Perhaps that is what we forget. Many of us want to make a “big” difference or “real” impact in the world or our community or at work, but we forget that little things can be important. Even those two ants made a difference, to each other and for their community. What could you do every day, to be more like those ants?