And their fearless nature is something we can all learn from.
My first hive opening during my beekeeping class was at a farm with around 20 beehives. Students and beekeepers alike were there, all decked out in the required beekeeping gear and bee spacesuits. One by one, we opened and rummaged through the beehives, learning as we went, with hundreds of thousands of bees flying all around us, zooming this way and that, filling the air with their buzzing sound, and landing all over the backs, heads and arms of every one of us.
Halfway into the hive opening, an eight year old girl runs by us all, laughing and giggling and doing the things eight year old girls do. Panic filled my belly and a few other students and I were looking at each other as if to say “Whose kid is that? Get her out of here, it’s unsafe.”
We watched in disbelief as she danced through the apple orchard filled with bees, jumping around happily and carefree. Then one of beekeepers who managed the hives spoke up “That’s my granddaughter. She’s used to bees.”
I was in complete disbelief. Here we all were with layers of protective gear, looking like idiots, as this brave little child runs by us wearing only a sundress, making a mockery of all our fears. After all why should she be afraid? She grew up seeing the gentle nature of bees almost daily with an open mind, without the prejudice or fear preconditioned in almost all of us.
Now that I have my own beehives, I watch as my children age 3 and 5 play and go about their child business with thousands of bees only 10 feet away. When my 3 year old spots a bee that has landed nearby he walks up to it, reaching out as if to pet it and says “Hello bee. Hello bee. Awww, cute little bee.”
The mother in me panics. Not being able to get past my fear I tell him, “Don’t touch it. Just say hello. Bees bite when they get scared.”
He just sits and watches until the bee flies away then waves “Goodbye bee. Cute little bee.”
This happened once at my 5 year olds T ball game. My 3 year old was on the sidelines when a bee flew past him landing on the ground nearby. Slowly the mothers all moved away, arms wrapped around their children in a protective pose, while at the same time trying to shush the bee away from them.
Not my son. He walked right over to the bee in his childlike way, sat down beside it and said “Awww, hello bee. Cute little bee.”
“Wow! He has no fear. ” said one of the moms, still clinging to her child.
“That’s because he’s a beekeeper’s son.” replied my mother in law.