FINCH COLUMN: Ants and time-tested truths

Aesop’s classic fable about the The Ant and the Grasshopper has been used as an example for centuries to teach children about hard work, the positives of planning ahead and cooperation. The fable’s concepts and structure reach all the way back to the first century and is found in multiple early writings.

Why do these concepts carry on and still apply today? The simple answer: truth stands the test of time. Hollywood has done several movies for children in the past 10 years to help revive these concepts.

Taking opportunities to expose your children to this fable’s concepts is one worth sharing as it can be used for kindergarteners to college students.

The weather in Michigan also helps us teach preparation and the consequences of not planning ahead. I’ve lived in Minnesota, Alaska and Michigan, and they all have similar weather; snow is coming, ready or not! It’s hard for me to imagine a climate where every day is the same; most people call it Hawaii! If you have ever been to Hawaii, or any culture around the equator, you will notice that there is no “sense of urgency,” no clock they are racing to beat. Michigan has a built in “ant” culture and Hawaii a built in “grasshopper” culture, all because of the weather.

One of the issues with today’s Michigan children is the lack of movement, especially as the days get colder. A “when I was a kid ...” story would certainly fit here, but no need to take up space! As winter approaches and you are heading outside, pull your son or daughter away from the electronics and have them help you prepare the yard for winter. Not only is being outside good for the body and mind of a child, but spending time with a parent is just as important. Using Michigan’s weather as a teaching tool is a good way to bring back the concepts from Aesop’s Fable. If your son or daughter leaves their favorite summer toy or bike outside this fall, perhaps you shouldn’t rescue it this winter. Yes, it may cost a couple of dollars to replace it next summer, but the lesson about consequences of not preparing could be priceless.

We don’t want to be the “ant” parent that always rescues our “grasshopper” children from early consequences for bad decisions or lack of preparation. It’s easier to teach these lessons when they are still young and they are still listening! Big grasshoppers are harder to catch!

Dr. Finch can be reached at and followed on Twitter @CFInchMOISD.