The Bumblebee Bat, also known as Kitty's Hog-nosed bat is not only the smallest mammal in the jungle, but the smallest mammal in the world!
As it's name implies, it is the size of a bumble bee. They weigh less than a penny and are no bigger than the tip of your finger!
You can find these fascinating little bats in the jungles of Thailand and in Myanmar. They live in limestone caves in a very remote area.
Though I love science, this isn't really a science lesson. At least I don't mean for it to be. As I studied the smallest mammal on the planet, God began to speak to me and show me lessons that parents of the littlest humans can benefit from. I hope you can glean something useful from it.
Beyond their size, there are two other amazing facts about the little Bumblebee bat. Most bat species, all accept this one actually, have tailbones that connect flaps of skin to the bat's ankle bone and allow it to have control in flight. The Bumblebee bat has no tail or ankle bone. The second amazing fact is that they have no known predators!
Imagine having no enemy. The freedom you would have and the peace of mind would be so vast. So then . . .why have the Bumblebee bats been on the endangered species list since 1984? Well, it seems they had a problem very similar to that of our toddlers. They were afraid of new places, independence and adventure. They stayed close to home, hung out with Mom and never explored the wide spaces and possibilities around them.
I picture a toddler clinging to it's mommy's leg in the church nursery. The separation is a safe one and it won't even last that long, but the fear sends them into a death grip of Mom's thigh.
We need to teach our children that it's okay to spread out and test some boundaries. We need to teach our little ones to trust God while building our own faith that God will be with them even when we are not.
Joshua 1:9 says "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified: do not be discouraged for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."
It isn't just their limited habitat that endangered them, but the burning of their limited habitat that sealed their fate. All they have to do is move, just a little, and the threat would be gone. Instead they don't move an inch and the fire begins to spread right to their front door.
We need to teach our children to spread out, but we also need to teach them to not fly solo. With the absence of an ankle and tailbone, the Bumblebee bat looses the ability to control it's flight. It wavers to and fro, aimless flight without any direction. We want our children to depend on Christ as their ankle bone or tailbone. We want Him to pull the reigns in their life and control their flight patterns. We want God to be the leading force behind every adventure they are brave enough to face. Then we know their safety is in His hands. There isn't a safer place for them to be.
Most importantly, we want to teach our children to avoid the flame. Hell is all too ready to tackle our little ones' hearts and capture them with lies from the enemy. We need to be vigilant protectors while building brave explorers following their heavenly guide.
I looked up verses about "stepping out". You can read (Judges 19:27, 1 Samuel 17:23, 2 Samuel 20:8, and Matthew 26:51) on your own if you choose to. What you will discover from these verses is that the enemy is always ready to step out. Every scripture relates to some enemy stepping out, from Goliath to the men seizing Jesus.
We want our children to grow to take steps too. We want them to be ready and equipped to face whatever comes and stand strong for Jesus.
Let's take our hints from the Bumblebee bat. Let's work to build our children's courage to step out, while teaching them where to turn for direction and what to avoid on their journey through life.
P.S. If you want to know more about the Bumblee bat, there is a picture book called Hello, Bumblebee Bat by Darrin Lund. I haven't read this myself yet, so please review it yourself before sharing it with the kiddos. :)