Learning from Ants

Ants….we see a lot of them at this time of year and they can be viewed as a menace, but did you know an ant can give a person many life lessons? My kitchen seems to be overrun with ants. I investigated the source of them outside the other day and witnessed a little creature take hold of a dead fly more than five times its size, dragging to wherever its nest was. I was captivated and thought that it would eventually give up and leave the poor fly on the ground, but I was wrong. It kept going, would pause, pull again, stop and then go until it reached the grassy side of the patio with other ants waiting to help.

I was fascinated by its persistence. If we pay close attention to our surroundings, we can learn a lot from everything our eyes can see, even from one of the smallest creatures on Earth.

So what is it about ants that we should consider? How can they teach us useful things for our lives?

1. PATIENCE AND PERSISTENCE

Ants can go for miles carrying their loads to reach their nest. They can carry a load many times more than their weight. They are goal-driven creatures and focus on getting the job done no matter how long it would take them to reach their destination. They are not intimidated by obstacles blocking their way. They pass through it or make a turn if needed. They show incredible levels of resilience.

We teach children to keep going no matter what circumstances get in their path. We encourage them to devote themselves to their purpose and do their best.

2. RESPONSIBILITY

We can learn a lot from ants about being responsible. Each member has its specific role within the colony whether it be guarding and maintaining the nest, foraging for food or feeding the colony. They know their specific role and undertake it without supervision. They work towards a common goal to maintain and protect the colony.

Understanding one’s part in a community is an area upon which we work very hard at Yateley Manor. All the work for charity grounds children in supporting others but, in addition, their role within the school community is critical in giving them the sense of community and its power.

3. ADAPTABILITY

You can find ants anywhere you go. In the forest, wetlands, in the tropics or even colder places. They are everywhere! They have existed for millions of years and their existence may be a common sight meaning we walk by them without noticing. It is fascinating that these little creatures can stand the test of time for many, many years.

Being able to adapt to new situations is a quality that children these days will need in an ever-changing world. At Yateley Manor we develop adaptability in children by giving them a broad range of opportunities, providing them a safe environment to make mistakes and learn more about themselves.

 

4. PREPARED AND ORGANISED

Ants think about tomorrow. They think of the winter in the summer and summer in the winter. They are busy saving up food for the rainy days and are prepared when calamity comes.

If we apply this in our personal lives, it is wise to think of our future and be smart, managing our resources and saving as much as we can so we are prepared when unforeseen things come. Self-management is another key skill that we teach children at Yateley Manor. Planning for what is coming up enables the children to feel confident about the future and allows them space to deal with unexpected events.

5. HARDWORKING AND RELIABLE

Watching a colony of ants working together, you see how hard they work. They epitomise teamwork. They know what they want to achieve, they know their part to play in its success and they get the job done. Teamwork and family are values at the core of Yateley Manor.

I reminded the children of our school values this morning in Assembly and showed how closely they are aligned to the qualities of ants. We do, indeed, have much to learn from ants.