14th Century Print

As with most fears, there was a reason. It came from a childhood memory.

Her much- loved uncle raised honey bees on a farm not far from the family home, more like the family block. They were immigrants who stayed close, at least for a few generations.

When provoked, and sometimes when not, bees will sting.

It does hurt. But the pain will pass.

The fear of being stung does not.

It is real, and can be passed on to generations of children. All in the name of protection.

This is my mother in law’s story, recently discovered. It all makes sense, like most things we examine in retrospect.


The Beekeeper. Ivan Kromskoy. 1872

Our children stayed with the in laws just a few times, mostly when we were moving from state to state, going on housing trips.

It took an effort, they lived hundreds of miles from us, so we transported the kids for several days in their care.

On one such occasion, my toddlers returned with a fear of bees. I should have understood why, but at the time, I was clueless.

I knew my husband had an exaggerated concern over getting stung, it was something I joked about, seeing a grown man swatting the air furiously to avoid a bee.

Suddenly, in my kids, it was no longer funny. Children are impressionable, it can take years to remove a fear that evolves in a matter of days.

I didn’t make the other connection, the dislike for honey. You’ll never find it in her home. For decades, I have brought my own honey for tea.

And if you are in the mood for sad, but beautiful, this signature piece from Tori Amos.

This entry was posted in Art, Books, Entertainment, Family, Food, Music, News and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

49 Responses to Beekeeper

  1. TanGental says:

    very sweet… opps, that’s trite!

  2. i love Tori and her work…her piano playing…loved her since the 90’s 😀 thanks for reminding me Van!

  3. The V Pub says:

    Sometimes we teach our kids fears. My mom used to say not to eat watermelon seeds, or one would grown in my tummy. I still live with that. 🙂

  4. It makes sense, Van, and I see the wariness appear in my family as well. My husband has a bee (insect) phobia and in my family, it’s waterfowl (due to childhood terrorization by geese). I’ve passed it on to my daughter and my grandson already exhibits duck-fear. 🙂

  5. polymath0 says:

    The funny thing is that I had been quite afraid as a kid and lost the fear at some unknown point in life. It started in the typical way. When I was three years old and at my babysitter’s house, I saw one buzzing around. I chased it and caught it in mid-air. You can guess what happened next. I don’t know how the fear went away, but as I got stung on the eyelid at work a year ago I realized that it really didn’t bother me much seeing those buggers coming at my face. They don’t really bother me anymore. I guess life stings far more, so the pain from a bee isn’t as big of a deal as we get older.

    Anyway, thanks for the music. I don’t have this track, but I do have some of Tori Amos’ works.

    • Childhood curiosity can get us in trouble, even stung. So glad you came to understand that there are far worse “life stings”. Well said. Thanks for your personal thoughts, and for sharing them here. ❤️

  6. Erika Kind says:

    It happens so fast that you plant a thought pattern in a child. My daughter is pretty much afraid of spiders because I was. Then again my sons are not…

  7. tric says:

    I had some fear of wasps in my childhood due to being stung numerous times. However once I had children I was determined not to pass it on. I eventually got over it and my gang have no fear of them at all, despite also having been stung. It’s amazing how we influence the next generation.

  8. I see these phobia’s passed on to children all of the time.. I am having to deal with my own Granddaughter who we got used to handling insects from very young.. We had two wild bees nests in our garden when she was two and she would play happily on the lawn while they flew back and forth.. I said they were too busy to bother her and if she left them alone mostly they would too..
    Yet this year in the garden a bee flew past.. * the nests went after a year * She screamed her head off She is 5 and half.. This fear has been past on my her mum who is afraid of them and spiders etc.. It is sad for this fear now is hard to break.. Bees are our friends..

    A little like Mankind isn’t it with our indoctrinated thoughts passed on down.. Thank you for sharing this Van.. Hope the attic is getting cleared xxx

  9. How sad that generations are exposed to phobias and fears that are once established not easy to turn around. Fear is nasty and it bites just like a real sting. I hope your kids are better now, Van, around bees. Tell them from me that when I grow my Lavender I can stick my head right in the flowers and the bees won’t hurt me. It’s true. Bees are very intelligent and once you let them know you are not afraid they know it. 🙂 <3. Unless that is, they are provoked. 😦

  10. I was determined not to pass on my fear of spiders to my children – I failed, they are all terrified – I, however, overcome my fear by pretending not to be scared! 😄

  11. amommasview says:

    Oh the fear of being stung is real… but then the fear of allergic reactions too. See, my children have never been stung by a bee so far. Therefor I don’t know if they would have an allergic reaction. That’s what I personally fear those days. xoxo

  12. lbeth1950 says:

    Isn’t that fascinating. I had an aunt who had an irrational fear of thunderstorms like that. Her kids were terrified, too. Love the image.

    • My grandparents would unplug every thing in their home before a thunderstorm…afraid of electrocution I think. My mother started to do the same, Dad set her on a healthier path. The kids always loved them…the power of the storm. I still do. Thanks, Linda.

  13. LaVagabonde says:

    It’s so easy for children to pick up phobias from parents. I can still remember how I got my darkness and spider phobias…

  14. It’s so interesting how thoughts, fear, and phobia can get perpetuated from one generation to the next.

  15. George says:

    “It can take years to remove fear that evolved in a matter of day.”
    How very true. Sometimes those fears are never removed. Nice post, Van.

  16. Wow so interesting how this fear was passed on!

  17. Val Boyko says:

    So much is passed on beyond our conscious awareness! Love this post Van. 🐝

  18. joey says:

    Excellent music ❤
    As the daughter of nature freaks (and as a nature freak) I was never afraid of bees, and spent a great deal of time telling people not to swat and to leave them be. I was stung twice by yellow jackets, ow, but still maintained that bees are wonderful and helpful and majestic af. Got bit by black wasps twice, no big deal. But the third time I got stung wasn't the same, and my arm swelled beyond imagination, becoming fevered, and my breathing was shallow and I had to have the shot, and now I am officially allergic to yellow jacket stings, which aren't exactly bees, but I never minded them before. Now, I have what I insist is a logical fear of being stung, because according to the doctor, with each subsequent sting, my shock will increase, and I am afraid of the shot, because the shot is epinephrine and I have anxiety disorder and I do not need more adrenaline and the idea of having to give myself a shot causes even more anxiety and so that's why I fear yellow jackets, but I like bees just fine and now I am going to make a nice pot of chamomile tea so I can slow down. 🙂

    • Whew.Your fear is well founded,allergic reactions are no joke. My only question to you…when the buzzing comes around, are you able to differentiate the type of bee ? I think I might try to avoid them all. Enjoy that chamomile, Joey, and take care.

      • joey says:

        I do not. I have to see which one I’m dealing with, which isn’t always an option. I photograph bees all the time, but I walk quickly away from yellow jackets.

  19. Steph McCoy says:

    I too am allergic to bee stings and of course after that first sting as a child which landed me in the ER I avoid all types of buzzing insects. Strangely enough I don’t notice this fear in my children and hope my grandson won’t acquire it although he is afraid of the dark.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s