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The Venus Flytrap

This weekend, the girls saw Venus flytraps for sale at Trader Joe’s.

Soon, one of the tiny plants was in our cart, and then on our kitchen counter at home. The problem was, this carnivorous plant housed in captivity would need its food delivered rather than fending for itself in the wild.

I told the girls to look around the house and backyard to see if they could find any bugs for the Venus flytrap to eat. 

Lots of time went by, and I saw that the girls had indeed found some potential sustenance for the plant – one roly-poly, one small cricket and a tiny black beetle. These bugs were now living in a house made of popsicle sticks, complete with a doll furniture slide and deep purple flowers.

“Okay!” I said, “Ready to see if the Venus flytrap is ready to eat?” 

The girls looked alarmed. “Eat Rolly, who loves sitting on this purple flower that smells so good?” cried Emma. “Or Hoppy the cricket, who likes to go down the slide and would never be able to go down it again?” she continued. Ella exclaimed, “You mean Lucky, whose leg is hurt and needs our help? No way! If the plant needs protein, can’t we just give it scrambled eggs?”

The girls had looked into their young, tender hearts and found what would bring them pain – removing the fun of going down a slide, a hurt leg in need of help, no longer being able to appreciate the beauty or scent of a purple flower. And when the girls recognized their ability to inflict that hurt, they chose to fiercely protect the bugs against it instead. 

The Venus flytrap is probably not long for this world. Meanwhile, Rolly, Hoppy and Lucky are thriving in their new habitat filled with fresh purple flowers, playground equipment and a soft cotton ball as a hospital bed for a hurt leg.

Author: Alyssa Forcehimes, PhD

An expert in behavior change, substance use disorders and empathic communication, Dr. Alyssa Forcehimes serves as President of The Change Companies® and Train for Change Inc.® She lives in Arizona with her husband and two daughters.