Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Lessons from a Butterfly

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.  Ephesians 4:29

The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.  Proverbs 12:18

There our Painted Lady Butterfly sat, delicately perched on the purple blooms of a Mallow plant, shuttering its wings- patterned with the colors of day and night.  The sensors on the bottom of its feet gave the butterfly the "go ahead" signal.  (We had previously wiped honey on the flowers in hopes of witnessing its eating habits.)  What happened next had the comlete attention of my 3 year old daughter, my 5 year old son, his friend, and me- a grown woman.  A black coil developed out from its mouth and slowly stretched out into a straw-like apparatus and sunk into the honey doused flower.  Our Painted Lady held its sucking position for about 7 seconds, and then the straw-like proboscus coiled back into its mouth.

What started out as a lesson on pollination turned into a much deeper lesson that only God could have provided.

Here is a summary of what I discussed with my little explorers:

God created butterflies to have proboscuses long enough to pollinate certain flowers that other insects can not reach.  Butterflies use their parts as God designed them and that is beneficial to the flowers and to people, who use and enjoy flowers.  It is important that we use our "parts" as God, our Master Creator, designed them.  I've noticed that with the looseness of summer vacation, our words and attitudes have gotten looser.  I've heard silly name calling, arguing, talking back, tattling, telling falsehoods, and interrupting more than I can count, and summer has barely started.  And that's not just from the kids.  I confess I've let my tongue be more like an icky, unwanted pest than a helpful, working insect way too often.  God gave us mouths, first and foremost, to praise Him and spread His message of salvation through Jesus Christ.  Also, God gave us mouths to edify, or build up, one another.  That is the opposite of tearing down, name calling, tattling, lying, and arguing.  Of course, God gave us mouths to eat, and He wants us to take care of our bodies, so we even need to be mindful of what we consume.  Finally, God gave us mouths to communicate, share stories, and laugh.  With this treasure from God, we have the responsibility to know when to hold our tongues and when to watch our tone.  Just as the butterfly has sensors on its feet, telling it what is safe and good to eat, we have the sense of God's Word telling us when and how to speak, when to laugh, and what tone is appropriate.

Here is the beginnings of a chart we brainstormed- Mouths that Edify:

-Thank you for cooking us this yummy meal!
-You're good at throwing.  Will you show me how to throw like that?
- {I'm choosing not to laugh because they're goofing off while the teacher is teaching us.}

We will continue to add to the chart and review the chart throughout the summer.

As for our suspended lesson on pollination, adaptations, and habitats- well, we've got all summer, and we're excited!  We did release our butterfly back into God's natural world.

Thank you, God, for the depths of your creations and the spontaneous lessons they inspire.  Help us be fruitful this summer and delight in extra family time and extra time out in Your vast, miraculous creation.  AMEN.    

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