How I Failed as a Parent

When I was growing up, if we heard the annoying buzz of a fly in the house my dad would reach for the nearest stack of newspaper or a magazine. A hunt would ensue until the flying annoyance was firmly squished against one surface or another by the rolled up weapon. As we got older, we kids became the hunter; the flies, unfortunately, stayed the hunted.

We never asked why the flies weren’t permitted to live once they were discovered. It never entered my mind to suggest we could live peaceably with another creature instead of resorting to violence. We just did it because that’s what you do.

In our own home, we stepped up the assault and purchased proper weapons. I have two swatters in my kitchen just in case one breaks down. Our children were witnesses to the same behavior, immediate death to all flies. We never talked about the reasons; I don’t think I could have explained why. No one ever told me.

I must admit I was surprised by one of my adult child’s cavalier attitude toward the same nasty fiend. I remarked on the number of flies buzzing about their kitchen and was told “they would probably leave the same way they entered.”

Hmm, the comment caused me to ponder. Perhaps my bias was purely cultural. Had I in fact chased after buzzing little monsters my entire life for no reason? Could we and the flies live in a mutually respectful environment? I did not chase the flies in their kitchen; nor did I encourage anyone else to do so.

How were any of us to know the resourceful little fellows would find a rotten potato in the pantry? A female fly can lay up to five hundred eggs and so they did. I wasn’t around for the next stage as the juicy white maggots began squirming across the floors to look for a cool dry place to pupate. Nor was I there for the discovery that the long piled area rug was the hiding spot of choice. I am very thankful I wasn’t.

Did you know - squishy maggots aside - flies are responsible for spreading over one hundred different diseases by carrying the pathogens on their bodies and spreading it to our food?


Have a super duper week!