And in Twenty Years, She’ll Be Known as the “Plant Psychopath”


Lunch Al Fresco
Originally uploaded by Madame Meow

These are sawfly larvae. We came across them on a Sunday stroll at the Arboretum and I was so distracted by what they could be –moths? butterflies? disgusting things from outer space?– that I didn’t even bother to notice what kind of leaf they were supping on (for ID purposes).

I came to find out what kind of larvae these were by submitting this picture to a bug identification site called bugguide.net –a site I highly recommend if you need some sort of bug identified.

I’m not sure what I want to accomplish here. I had very definite plans to write about keeping an open mind about the natural world, and about how being green is not so much about the items that you can buy to make yourself greener, but to realize what the impact of your actions is on your immediate environment; for instance, there was a daddy with his little girl at the Arboretum as well, and her daddy was just letting her rip and destroy all the beautiful foliage.

There they were, surrounded by these lovely breezes under a pergola, and there went the little girl, first shaking a long limb of a wisteria and then randomly ripping the flowering heads off nearby plants. The dad just sat around pretending to care to listen to the answer of his “What are you doing, sweetie?” but largely ignoring the botanic carnage that lay all about him.

You may be shrugging and not interested in this story, except that if some three-year-old girl is not taught by her father that these plants and this Arboretum are things to be respected and treasured because they teach us about plants and our relationship with them and about the future; but instead does more damage to a bush than all the sawfly larvae money could never buy, then how is she expected to understand or care whether growing a Victory garden or installing solar panels in her house or how installing a compact fluorescent lightbulb will save her money and make her feel good inside and feel like she is part of the solution?

I don’t know and I don’t have a solution, myself. But if that little girl EVER gets within an inch of any of my plants, she’d better be wearing head-to-toe armor.

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This entry was published on August 4, 2008 at 7:43 pm and is filed under Gardening, Photoblogging, Soapboxing. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

4 thoughts on “And in Twenty Years, She’ll Be Known as the “Plant Psychopath”

  1. I know exactly what you mean. Unfortunately some parents feel that letting their kids do whatever they want is much better than actually teaching them the important things. We had a couple of those types at the daycare I used to work for.

  2. Vixen on said:

    Having survived the early years of parenthood, I tend to look upon parents who let their children run wild with disapproval. It’s not that hard to teach kids manners.
    However I’ve also watched how the rules for parents have changed since my daughter was born. When I was raising her, a parent could speak sternly to a child in public. You could even give the little darlings a quick spank if they continued to misbehave. That’s a quick spank – one slap on the butt NOT picking them up, turning them over your knee and hitting as hard as you could.
    Then someone got offended over parents disciplining their children by spanking. Probably someone who was beaten as a child and couldn’t see that a spanking is different from a beating. And the public outcry was raised. Parents were told it was harmful to their children to spank them. The “time out” method was introduced. Which worked fine as long as you could place the child someplace for a time out. Not so easy to do when you are in public. By the time you got the child home and said they needed a time out they didn’t know why because they were no longer thinking about what they had done wrong. So they didn’t associate the punishment with the bad behaviour.
    Now, the “socially conscious” people get upset when parents raise their voices. Cries of “verbal abuse” and “mental anguish” come easily from these critics. Having been a victim of verbal abuse, I can tell you there is a difference between a parent raising his/her voice to get a child’s attention and being verbally abusive. Verbal abuse is the choice of words used as well as the tone. And let me tell you, words said in a calm tone have more of an impact that words said in anger.
    As parents we all have a responsibility to teach our children manners and social etiquette. We also have a responsibility to use a method of reward and punishment that is consistent and does no lasting harm to our children. Unfortunately, most kids tend to be resistant to most forms of punishment short of physical methods. Each child responds differently and it is up to us as the parents to discover how to handle each child so we do teach them to be responsible, healthy, productive members of society.
    It also means we have a responsibility as parents to keep the “socially conscious” a.k.a. “bleeding hearts” people from undermining our rights and responsibilities.
    I understand why many parents don’t try to make their children behave in public. As a result of the public outcries over physical and verbal abuse Social Services started investigating families where neighbours reported “abusive” behaviours. So families would suddenly be torn apart while they were investigated. Kids started suing their parents and asking to be “divorced” from them.
    I understand why parents today are uncertain how they should behave. I also realize there are some parents who just don’t care about teaching their kids. I’m thankful my girl is an adult now and I don’t have to try and raise her in today’s climate. I think anyone who wants to be a parent today is extremely brave. And I worry about what my daughter might have to face when she decides to be a mother.
    I think the method we settled on, giving her a lecture and making her repeat the important points back, worked best of all. We kept it to what she could understand and we’ve had almost no problems with her. However she had to deal with having a larger vocabulary than her friends as well as a more mature attitude while she was growing up. Which gave her problems with her friends and classmates. Still, it is giving her the advantage right now in her course, as she is a person all of her instructors trust and want to recommend to their contacts in the field.
    Sorry about the long response. This is one of my buttons.

  3. I’m sorry I wanted to comment on the last of parenting but that picture is seriously grossing me out… I hate bugs, especially in a bunch like that. Excuse me, I have to go now and scream a little… I’ll be back, eventually.

  4. people generally have very little regard for whats left of an eviscerated planet.

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