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TRIBEWORK is about consuming the process of life, the journey, together.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

4 Lessons on Life and Love from Bees

“... the world is really one big bee yard, and the same rules work fine in both places: don’t be afraid, as no life-loving bee wants to sting you. Still, don’t be an idiot; wear long sleeves and long pants. Don’t swat. Don’t even think about swatting. If you feel angry, whistle. Anger agitates, while whistling melts a bee’s temper. Act like you know what you’re doing, even if you don’t. Above all, send the bees love. Every little thing wants to be loved.” ~August Boatwright, played by Queen Latifah, to Lily Owens, played by Dakota Fanning in The Secret Life of Bees (2008).

Motion pictures have their precious nuggets of wisdom. These four salient gems—from the screenplay written and directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood—have meaning worth pondering:

1. Don’t Be Afraid – Be Morally Courageous

There are many things we may be afraid of that prove us irrational.

Yet, life in this world values courage most of all. When we understand that few people (or things) are out to get us it’s easier to approach life with renewed confidence. Furthermore, when our courage reaches the innate fairness of the pinnacles of morality, acclaim-without-effort is ours.

Life without unreasonable fear finds us at harmony with ordinary existence. Besides, it’s easier for everyone to get along, generally, than not to.

2. Don’t Be an Idiot – Nurture Wisdom

Doing things the sensible, reasonable, and logical way makes sense. But we’ve all had moments of idiocy. It would be foolish for the beekeeper to not wear protective equipment.

Likewise, wisdom suggests that we take the time to do things in the proper order; this way we not only do things properly, more or less, but we respect our relationships as well.

3. Don’t Swat – Manage Anger; More so, Be Patient

We come back to harmony, here. Bees obviously appreciate the presence of harmony. The general flow of life appreciates patience, the utterance of grace, but anger is tormenting for everyone concerned, even for the propagator.

Learning to patiently “whistle,” as a replacement for anger, is like counting to ten when we’re getting exasperated. It just allows our higher minds to control otherwise regrettable emotive actions. Better to melt our tempers than to let them flair.

Isn’t it better to humbly believe in ourselves, even if inside we’re terrified, than to panic? Patience imbues courage.

4. Send Everything Love

Oh, the elixir of life: love.

If we send everything love, we have such better chances of finding the same thing returned to us, perhaps with interest or a surprise in the way reactions are manifested.

“Every little thing wants to be loved”; we are all little things—every created being—not just bees, but veritable behemoths (Job 40:15-24) also. What is big in comparison to God?


Courage, wisdom, patience, and love: these four can empower pleasure for life like few others. These virtues are kindly generous as they are grand. Who would think we could discover these from beekeeping?

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

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