September has become "love bug season" here in rural North Florida. These harmless, fragile insects (scientifically referred to as Plecia nearctica) are found everywhere...including windshields and playgrounds. As with any insect, our Kinders have been fascinated by them. They chase them, call out for them, and delight when a pair (or four) lands on them for a short while. When the love bug invasion first appeared the kids were a little frightened, naturally, so me and my co-teachers explained that these insects are very gentle, do not sting, and are happiest when they have a partner with them. Our explanations seem to work, and soon the kids were seeking the bugs out instead of running from them.
Yesterday one of my students scurried up to my classroom intern, Miss Jones, and gleefully exclaimed as she showed her a pair of love bugs who had landed on her shirt, "Look Miss Jones...I'm lovable!" I think our recent love bug invasion could not have been more timely at the beginning of the school year, when we are learning what it means to love...and how to be lovable. I think we will all be a little sad when our gentle visiting insects migrate on. Perhaps they will visit another playground and help to teach little learners what being lovable is all about.