Posted by: Isaac Bruce | March 23, 2011

A childhood experience that taught me life lessons

Last week, I accidentally came across my college application essay. From the many experiences I have had, I decided to write on this complicated subject using a simple, odd anecdote. The facial expression on my educational advisor’s face back then, made me much aware of the ‘danger’ path I was taking. Maybe I should have reconsidered the subject, other than talk about ants ’wanna be cute creatures’ all the way.

When I was young, I used to ask myself, why did God create ants? I wanted to know why God created these tiny, annoying, “wanna be cute creatures”. But most importantly why did he give them the ultimate power to bite? That was what made me detest ants’, their bites which I long suffered from, for playing in the dirtiest of places. It was after one of such bites, that I experienced an excruciating pain- a pain I had never felt before. I then decided to end it all and save the world by killing an ANT.

How I took my revenge? I could remember so vividly, I killed them with my bare hands, destroyed their newly built territories –from the queens to the labourers, red to black, to the harmless. I know it had to be away from home (I did not want my mother to know I had committed such a crime). I identified a place at our back terrace with a big, old, almond tree. My initial plan was to capture the ant amongst its friends {ha! this will teach it a lesson!}, so that when I bring its dead body back, the ants will feel a great loss.

I decided to kill it slowly. I decided to cut off one of its legs with a pin and enjoy my vengeance. But, I was surprised! After cutting one of its legs it started struggling to stand on its other remaining legs. From the way the ant was struggling, I could see that it was suffering from much pain (a pain which I thought then was excruciating than any bite). I was starting to feel guilty.

The ant was so determined to fight for its life. It performed a miracle there and then by standing up on its remaining legs and slowly limping away from me…the killer. It was then that I learnt my first lesson from the teacher ant that, “never give up even in the most uncompromising situations”. I was totally ashamed of myself for trying to kill such a hero. Oh my God!, it was dead. After watching the ant for few minutes, to my surprise it was being carried away by two other ants. That did it. Just watching that little ceremony of the two caring ants, carrying a fellow ant was enough to teach me a lifelong lesson, “Care for one another”.

That day, I walked back home very slowly, thinking about my experience with the ant. Later, I saw another strange thing happen again, that sent shivers down my spine. In daddy’s old chair, I figured an ant carrying a flower stalk as load. I can’t believe it myself, but I wasted nearly an hour watching the tiny ant carry the huge load across our back terrace. I was confused about where it was carrying the load to and for what purpose.

Several times it was confronted by obstacles and after a momentary pause, it would make the necessary move. Staggering with the load, it came to a crack in the concrete about 0.8 mm wide, at this point my inquisitive eyes were widely opened. Breathless anticipations, the ant stood contemplating for a while; suddenly it laid its load gently across the crack and walked over it, picked it up on the other side and continued strenuously. Can you imagine! I was so fascinated by the ingenuity of the ant and immediately shouted out for my siblings and dad. Daddy was the first to appear but returned on his old tired legs. Alex never showed up, but I gazed at the ant until it finally disappeared with the load. This experience yet gave me another great lesson that “we should explore, discover and overcome every obstacle or challenge “. Can you imagine God telling us to learn from the ant? So what can we learn?

So I say to anyone reading this, I entreat you all to show love and compassion towards one another. For with love, many battles can be conquered. We should also develop a determined attitude to achieve our goal and work as a team and above all never give up. For even the ant, which is more than a million times smaller than we are, has managed to prove its worth. Big blessings really come in small packages. I now understand why God created the ant. I am not so ignorant to think only my intellectual superiors can teach me. If such were the case, then the teacher would learn nothing from its students, the parents nothing from their children and I nothing from the ant.




  1. This is amazing! I absolutely love this. I have to write an essay about a life lesson I learned (its due tomorrow! ahh!) and I never thought to include God but now I will. This is such a good story, and very cute and funny. Thanks 🙂

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