When I was small, I loved to run through the grass barefooted, but I hated the thought of stepping on a honey bee. Their sting always brought tears to my eyes along with the declaration, “I’ll never run in the yard without shoes again.” However, a few days later I’d forget my vow and go running out the backdoor without shoes, only to be stung again. For this reason, I grew up hating honey bees.
As an adult, I tried to keep clover from growing in the yard so my children wouldn’t face the same bee stings I endured as a child. My husband, as a dairy farmer, explained that clover added nitrogen to the soil and was good for the pastures and, of course, our yard. But I still hated the dreaded sight of clover in the yard because where there was clover, there were honey bees.
Then several years ago, I heard that scientists were baffled to find the number of honey bees sharply decreasing. Whether the cause was disease, viral pathogens or parasitic mites in beehives, or new pesticides being integrated into the plants, scientists could not pinpoint the exact reason. The result: We saw no more honey bees in the pastures.
After that, my whole attitude toward the tiny stinging insects changed. Today, my husband and I went on a twenty minute walk around the farm to see the cows and their new baby calves. Because of the recent rains, clover was flourishing in the fields, and believe it or not, I was elated to see a honey bee darting around the clover blossoms. I saw a honey bee here, then another one there. The clover wasn’t covered with honey bees, but I was happy to see several on our short walk.
That change in attitude made me wonder how many other distasteful things in life I start out hating but later come to appreciate. For example: discipline. My parents were strict in their discipline, but because of the structure, I learned values and integrity that make me what I am today. That strong moral structure was passed on to my children, and hopefully their children.
Now, when I come in contact with something I hate, I think about the honey bees and the lesson they’ve taught me about improving my “attitude of gratitude” toward all things.