This may look like a bat to you, but to me it looks like a tornado.
If I’m in town, Sundays are family dinner days at Granddad’s. My sons, their wives and the grandkids come to my house, I cook and we spend quality time together. I also get to hear critiques on the food. I never follow a recipe, so every time I fix something its different. What’s the fun or challenge in doing something the same way over and over again? It could always be better—right? Part of our tradition is after dinner, during the times when we don’t have snow or when it’s too cold, everyone with the exception of the chef cleans up the dishes and packs up the leftovers to take home. Then we go up to my little pond (my favorite place on the planet) and feed the fish, listen to the birds, shoot pebbles with sling shots at the wind chimes, look for cool rocks, enjoy each other and commune with nature. We also watch the bats as they swoop down to attack the insects flying around the pond.
This past Sunday, the dogs and I were the first ones to the pond—everyone else, including my six-year-old grandson Brendan, were still working on the dishes. As I stepped off the deck, I discovered this tiny little bat that had probably hit a window, lying there stunned. I called everyone up and we gathered around to watch the little two-inch long bat recover. It only took a couple of minutes before Brendan and big brother, sixteen-year-old Ethan, figuring out a name for the little bat. They settled on “Count Batula.” As we all watched this incredible creature start moving around, trying not to disturb it too much (except for the occasional squeal from the kids when the bat scurried toward one of them), we also dealt with the obvious discussion that developed around whether or not they should take the bat to the Nature Center or take it home and keep it as a pet. The boy’s mom, my daughter-in-law Mandy, was ready to go find a box. My son Alex was strongly suggesting that we let nature take its course and leave the little rodent alone.
Long story short, everyone watched the bat’s recovery—even discovering that Count Batula would eat fish food—who would have thought? Everyone exchanged their, as we discovered, rather limited knowledge of bats. I elected to leave out my vampire bat information to avoid any possible six-year-old’s nightmares.
From the get go, I didn’t see a bat—I saw a great opportunity. An opportunity to create an interest, an interest that was starting off with some great intensity, intensity that had the potential to grow and spread and perhaps even spawn a blue sky, rainbow tornado. Way cool!
Watch for potential opportunities and help get the winds get a blowin’.
P.S. We let the little bat go about its little bat life without interference.
And, now for the rest of the story…
Tornadoes: Thoughts on the Brain and Child-Centered Learning