Acting like ants: Tips for teamwork

What happens to ants when their territory is flooded? They creatively work together to save the whole colony. Here are a few tips for building that same teamwork in our families.

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  • Ants are tiny.

  • From our perspective, we have to squint to even notice one of the little bugs skittering across the sidewalk.

  • Although small, these bugs are a remarkable example of working together. Each tiny ant labors diligently in constructing its colony. One ant makes a big difference. If one out of the hundreds of ants goes missing, his specific job or area is ignored, creating chaos in the construction of the colony's tunnels.

  • As each little ant makes an important impact on the construction and upkeep of the colony, they also work together when disaster strikes. In this video, an ant colony works together during a flood to build a raft out of the ants themselves. By linking their arms and legs, the ants make a raft that floats their beloved colony across the flooding. Incredibly, they are able to save the queen ant, pupae, and much of the colony. By saving the queen and pupae, the ants preserve the future of the colony.

  • It's inspiring and remarkable that the ants are able to work so selflessly to save their colony. Instead of running around in chaotic confusion when disaster strikes, the ants immediately work together to achieve a common goal. After reaching the shore, they work to save their queen and future ants first, instead of all selfishly running to safety at once.

  • Just imagine if families had this unbelievable level of teamwork in their homes. When a child needs help during a time of personal struggle, he gets unconditional love and is carried to shore by his parents or siblings. Many families embody this type of togetherness. But in today's culture, it can be easy to overlook.

  • We live in a highly competitive world. It can feel like the focus is always on winning or losing in sports, school, and extracurricular activities. It's hard to remember the real importance of teamwork when those around us only focus on getting first place.

  • However, if your family works together as a team, they can always win. Here are some tips for fostering teamwork in our families:

    • Play games within your family. This is a great way to teach the value in working as a team and motivating others.

    • If you have family members with a competitive streak, help them take a deep breath when things get intense. Don't allow yelling or arguing to erupt from playing family games.

    • Volunteer to coach your son or daughter's sports team. That way, while you are teaching her to shoot lay ups, you can also teach her a thing or two about helping teammates.

    • Give positive rewards when your kids help each other. If a sibling is sick and can't complete her chores and brother steps in to help finish them, point out that he was being a great teammate to his sister.

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  • The floods of life are unexpected and will rush in when you least expect it. But if your family is ready to work together, you can safely carry each other to shore.

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Alysa Kleinman is a journalism student and an intern at Deseret Digital Media. 

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