My daughter is now a fifth grader, if you can believe it. She’s loving it, in part, because her teacher is a bit of a mad scientist. Have you taken a bite of mealworm pizza? Me neither, but thanks to Mr. Reed, now she has.
So, as part of the biology curriculum, the kids were studying the concept of producers, scavengers and consumers by creating a real, live ecosystem in their classroom. They set up terrariums and first populated it with dirt and seeds to grow plants (producers). Once the plants sprouted, they sprinkled in some crickets (scavengers). And then, for the pièce de résistance, came the consumers: green anole lizards.
When the experiment concluded, Mr. Reed offered the opportunity for the kids to take home the lizards as pets. My wife is not fond of pets without fur or feathers, so my daughter and a classmate struck a deal to co-own a lizard, on the condition that he reside at the classmate’s home. The flaw in their plan, however, was that the classmate had not consulted her own parents for permission.
And so it was that I answered a phone call from the school. A small voice said “Hi Daddy” and I immediately began thinking of all the terrible reasons why my daughter would call home during the school day.
“Hi honey,” I responded with a lump in my throat (was she sick? who’s hurt? what’s going on?). “What’s up?”
Fortunately, she wasn’t calling to report injury or illness. Since her classmate’s parents had said no, my daughter called to ask if she could bring the lizard home with her. I don’t know if it was my relief that no one needed to be rushed to the hospital, but somehow I found my voice saying yes in reply.
Of course, caring for a lizard, as with any living thing, requires more than simply saying yes. You have to provide a living quarters. You have to provide light, warmth and moisture, all in perfect balance. Best (or worst) of all, you have to provide food which, in this case, must be alive and, gulp, hopping.
In other words, saying yes is the easy part. What comes after, whether we’re talking about the care and feeding of lizards or executing on time sensitive creative, print or digital marketing jobs, is the hard part.
Then again, without the hard part, we wouldn’t get to the best part: seeing the smile, whether or my kid’s face or yours, when we succeed.