This past weekend, my family went camping with several other families. As the sun went down and the adults all gathered around a fire hoping smoke would discourage the mosquitoes, the kids ran about with glow sticks trying to catch fireflies.
Living in the Midwest, we all take fireflies for granted. One of my favorite things about summer is watching the fireflies (or lightening bugs as they are also called) rise out of the grass every evening. Even our kids just assume there will be fireflies in the summer. So it was fun to watch the reaction of our friend’s Grandma who, having lived her entire life in California, had never seen fireflies. As my son and his friend returned with glowing insects in hand, she was as excited as a child, and as I tried to explain to the kids how these little guys light up, she was the one who was fascinated.
My son, used to my attempts to insert science lessons into his life at every turn, simply ran off with his friends. But the fifty-something-year-old kindergarten teacher from San Diego listened to every word. Maybe she was just being polite, as I doubt she has that much interest in luciferase reactions or reporter genes, but maybe a little of that science lesson will get passed on in some form to a class of kindergartners.
If nothing else, I hope she shares the magic and wonder of watching those flashing lights flying about, and at least a little of the science behind the light. And who knows, maybe that will inspire some five-year old to explore science as a career. And maybe that kid will grow up and discover a way to keep mosquito bites from itching.
Hey, a gal can dream…