My phone rang as I was standing in Home Depot at 9:43 pm. It was my dear friend Leslie who generally knows not to call me after 9:30 because I am usually in bed. Since this seemed odd, I decided to take the call, wondering if something big was going on.
“What’s the difference between a cricket and a grasshopper?” she asks. “Well,” I replied, “I’m not totally sure, but I think a cricket is usually black and a grasshopper is green.”
“Then this one must be a grasshopper because it’s green. And it’s huge! Does Jonathan need a grasshopper for his bug collection?” she continued.
“Yes! I think he does,” I told her, getting more excited about the bugs than the generators I was comparing.
“I’ve got him under a plastic dome and I also have a cicada. Did you know that they actually scream?” she asked me.
Two bug scores! We had hit the insect jackpot! “Put those guys in a Ziploc bag and stick them in the freezer,” I instructed her. “We will come by tomorrow and pick them up.” A few minutes later I received photos of the bugs accompanied by a squeal of joy from Leslie telling me that they were both securely awaiting pickup.
My son spent time over the summer collecting bugs for the project that dominates the first semester of freshman biology. This bug project has become a rite of passage for students, but also a great community builder for families. This was our family's second batch of bugs with two more kids behind to go. Thankfully, many friends have collected bugs for us from all sorts of places knowing the need of this infamous project. In fact, I remember being at the Bog Garden with my Kindergartener, watching her teacher grab a plastic bag out of her purse in pursuit of a bug, leaving me astonished at the process.
“Now you know how much I love your family,” said Leslie.
“Yes, I do. And I have bugs to prove it,” I replied.
“Please remember Abby next year when she is on bug duty.”
“Absolutely!” I said. “I look at bugs much differently now.”
“I did sort of feel bad about snuffing out their little lives, so I prayed a prayer of thanks for them,” she told me.
“Me too,” I replied and said a prayer of thanks for my friend, her thoughtfulness and willingness to join us as we work on completing this quintessential insect assignment.
This project is a great example of one of the unique experiences that a classical education offers at Caldwell Academy. Each year, it is a bit painful to write the tuition check, but over and over I drive away from campus thanking the Lord that we are able to do so. This bug collection is one of those opportunities that make our kids’ classical, Christian education so unique. Where else would freshmen get to run around campus with bug nets during class? Where else would parents join together on a treasure hunt around town to secure the right types of bugs, carefully ensuring that they are kept in pristine condition? Where else would our kids get a chance to look so closely at these insects, marveling at God’s amazing creations and his system of order in nature. Only at a classical, Christian school. And we are grateful.