For the last couple of days, it's rained all afternoon here in Denver. Because of this, we've been seeing lots and lots of worms on the roads and sidewalks as we walk to school in the morning. Our daughter invariably insists on stopping to save the majority of these little guys. I would estimate that we relocated about 15 or 20 of them this morning.
As I watched worm after worm fly into neighbors' yards, I was reminded of a time when she was in Kindergarten and the sidewalks were especially covered with worms. It had taken us about 5 minutes just to walk down our block because we were stopping to move so many worms. I explained to Joey that if we continued to stop for each and every worm, she would be late for school (something she really hates). She just looked at me and said that if we didn't stop, they were going to die. And really, she was right.
So I stopped to think for a moment. What was it exactly that I wanted to teach my daughter? We watch kids grow into teenagers and wonder if they have any idea of what is right and what is wrong. It seemed to me that this was an opportunity to teach her something about the value of life. And it also reminded me of a story I once heard about an old man standing on the beach throwing starfish back into the water. An observer commented that with the next high tide, there would be a whole new batch of starfish and that, ultimately, what he was doing didn't really matter. The man just reached down and tossed another starfish back into the ocean and responded, "It mattered to that one."
Now, I'm not saying that we stop for every worm, or that I never kill wasps or things like that, but for the most part, we're a pretty humane family. We relocate indoor spiders to the wild and we watch where we walk so we don't step on rolly-pollies. So, that day in Kindergarten, our daughter was very late for school. I had to sign her in at the office and under the reason for the tardy I wrote, "Saving Worms."