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Better as a Team

“Who wants to help look for food today?” asked one of the ants. “I will! I will!” shouted several of the ants. Ten ants were chosen and the group set off to look for food. Once they found the food, they would call the others to help them carry it back to the ant colony. While the food scouts were out looking for food, there was a lot to be done to keep the colony running.—There were baby ants to care for, many cleaning jobs to do and more. The ants busied themselves with their chores. “I’m tired of being told what to do!” said Jana to herself. “I don’t like to always work. Sometimes I’d rather just play or do what I’d like to do. I’m better off by myself.” Then a thought popped into her mind. Maybe I’ll just go off on my own. Then I won’t have to work and there won’t be anybody telling me what to do.

So while the other ants returned home, carrying the food as they went, Jana hid behind a table leg and waited for the others to leave. When all the ants had gone, Jana came out from her hiding place and began to greedily gobble up the cake crumbs that were left on the floor. She was so busy stuffing herself that she didn’t notice the large broom coming towards her. Jana found herself being swept along with the cake crumbs into a dustpan, and then she was thrown into the garbage bin. Inside the garbage bin it was dark and smelly. “Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea after all,” she said sadly. Jana then began to climb up the steep, slippery sides of the garbage bin. She fell all the way down several times, but she kept trying until she made it to the top. When she finally got out of the garbage bin, there was no more food left under the table and all her friends were gone. She began to feel very lonely. “I guess I’d better find a place to spend the night,” Jana said to herself. She looked around the porch, and couldn’t find anything, so she crept inside the house, where she found a corner in a pot cupboard. It wasn’t as cozy as the ant colony underground, and she missed her friends and the stories they would tell each other before bed. She even missed working with them.

The next morning she woke up to the sound of pots and pans clanging and banging. Somebody was making breakfast. Whoever it was had opened the cupboard and was pulling out baking pans and pot lids. Then the pot that was in the corner where she had been sleeping was pulled out. “What are you doing in my kitchen?” an angry voice cried. Jana quickly scurried out of the cupboard and ran away before the cook could catch her and put her outside. “Where there’s one, there’s got to be more,” muttered the cook, as she searched the pot cupboard for more ants. How Jana wished that there were more ants, but none of her friends were there today. She wandered around looking for food, but found none. She searched for hours, but still found nothing. Her legs ached from walking so far. It was late in the day when she found a few breadcrumbs on a picnic table. She was still hungry, and she didn’t know where she’d spend the night. Finally, Jana decided to go back home.

It was late that night when she arrived back at the ant colony. Jana’s friends rushed over to see her, happy that she had returned, and eager to know where she’d been. “I thought I could do it better on my own,” Jana told her friends. “But I realized that we’re so much better as a team. I’m sorry I went out on my own.” “We’re just so glad you’re back home,” one of Jana’s friends said, to which all her other friends happily agreed. The next time someone asked for help with a chore or job, Jana was happy to volunteer. She didn’t complain when someone told her what to do or asked for her help with something. Whenever she was tempted to complain, Jana would remember the time she had tried to do it all on her own, and she would then be happy that she had others to live and work with. “We’re just better as a team,” she would tell her friends.

Art by Agnes Lemaire/Microsoft Clipart. Text  The Family International.