Parenting: Who are the REAL bees?

November 15, 2010

Inside was a rather large bees nest. The nest was void of any bees, but an impressive find nonetheless. And it had me wondering. How many bees lived here? Were they happy living in the gutter? Did they get upset when it rained and water came gushing through? Did they like the flowers in our yard? And did they ever get bored by a bee's daily routine?

Those questions quickly had me wondering about something completely different. If me and my family were the subject of a similar discovery by someone from another region of the universe, what questions would they have about us?

The late astronomer Carl Sagan conducted a similar thought experiment by imagining what aliens would think of Earth from way far away (as a pale blue dot), and way up close (close enough to see houses, roads mountains, oceans, and maybe even human activity).

I suggest you purchase Sagan's book of that very name, "Pale Blue Dot." It is a fascinating read. More information right here.

As for me, the dad, one can only imagine what a foreigner to this planet would deduce from observing what goes on at my house (from above). What if it was just a Google Earth-type snapshot? A day when none of us were outside? Hmm. That place seems pretty boring (and any parent will tell you, nothing is boring about your daily lives in raising children).

What if the foreigner would be allowed to observe us for an hour? A day? A week?

A month?

After a month, the alien would probably look at us much the same as we look at bees. Hmmm. These creatures seem very routine-oriented.

In my family's case: I leave the same time every weekday to go to work. My children leave for the bus about the same time every weekday. I return home around the same time. My children return around the same time. There may be varying activities and trips by my wife in between, and on weekends, but for the most part, this routine remains unbroken during the school year.

What if the aliens could observe us over the course of three years, with time being sped up? More routines. Trips to school are daily (save for holidays) between the months of September and June. Trips outside and to other places begins to vary from June to September. Lawn gets cut between March and November. Snow may fall between December and March.

Wow. What routines! How boring! Do they have minds of their own, free will, or are these creatures just relegated to repeating tasks over and over again? Who are the bees, anyway? We, or the bees?

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