6 Lessons from our Beehive Opening
Our beehive opening this past weekend was an incredible experience! Although my 12 year old son and I had completed the beekeeping course, (including an observation of a hive opening) we were still amateurs on opening day. Therefore, due to many beginner mistakes by yours truly, our beehive opening was a bit more complicated and stressful than it needed to be. Thankfully, we were fortunate enough to have Christina, a beekeeping expert and friend, guiding us out of what could have been a disaster hive opening. Reflecting back, I found six life lessons from our first official beekeeping experience.
Lesson #1: Don’t go alone. Embrace Community
Learning to ask for help has always been difficult for me; therefore, I tend to always try to “go it alone” to avoid any discomfort. In our quest in becoming beekeepers, my 12 year old son and I have been catapulted into this incredible beekeeping community. We both feel a remarkable fellowship. I am learning the power of Community. In this case, when things began to not go as planned during our hive opening, it was my experienced beekeeper friend Christina who guided us out of some tricky situations. Who is your community? Who do you lean on to ask questions? As a Natural Teacher, reach out, find your tribe, and celebrate your common interests. Creating community is the secret to success and makes teaching outdoors a lot more interesting.
Lesson #2: Think & Be Prepared
As a teacher/trainer, I have learned that preparation is the name of the game and is the secret sauce to teaching outdoors. In preparation for our bees, we painted our hive, made bee food, and found the ideal location. We were ready for opening day, yet things still went wrong. Teaching Outdoors can bring unusual challenges. Therefore, it is REALLY important to be prepared. The next time you head outdoors with a group of children… think about everything and prepare for anything.
Lesson #3: Expect the Unexpected and Stay Calm
Life presents lessons in different ways everyday. Some lessons are fun while others are challenging and scary. In beekeeping class we learned that bee’s sense fear. We all know life sometimes throws us some unexpected curve balls. Yup…we had a couple on hive opening day! As we were working, we noticed a bee crawling on my sons forehead, inside his bee suit! Looking at it was enough to get your adrenaline rushing. (We had unexpected openings in the arms of our new bee suits) In this case I drew calm from my son. Thankfully, he has an innate way of keeping his cool under pressure. So I simply squashed the bee, remained calm and moved on. If we hadn’t done this, I am sure we would have been stung. Lesson Learned…expect the unexpected and stay calm.
Lesson #4: Don’t Assume. Ask Questions
I have quickly learned that working with bees is a bit like working with Pandora’s box. Once you open a box with 1,000 bee’s–there is no turning back. Little did I know, I forgot to ask the most important question. ( How do you extract the queen’s mini cage?) Lacking the answer to this critically important question, left us doing things a little backwards and resorting to the trial and error method. Not a great choice when working with bees. This lesson has taught me never to make assumptions and always ask lot’s and lot’s of questions.
Lesson #5: Don’t cut corners
My beekeeping friend Christina shared many bee stories. My favorite was, ” Whenever I cut corners, I get stung.” This simple concept resonated with my son. He now puts rubber bands on his arms to close the holes in his bee suit. This is a great life lesson and one that can be applied to most everything. When I try to cut corners, things always go wrong and it always takes me twice as long. Let’s not get stung here!
Lesson #6: Feed, Feed, Feed
Did you know that bees love sugar syrup? Did you know that bees need to be fed to help start their hive? We all need to be fed and celebrate building our bodies and our homes. Let’s enjoy the Harvest!
What are your favorite life lesson? Share in the comments below.