Thinking. Bats and trees.

One bat is rather cute and fairly harmless. Wouldn't you agree?

Unfortunately, bats don't usually come in ones. They come in colonies. This is what they look like all together.

And this is the damage they can do to a tree.

The Botanic Gardens in Sydney is losing tree after tree because of colonies of fruit bats who fly in every night to roost.

I heard on the radio today that the Gardens staff will be trying a new technique to get rid of them for the next two weeks. When the bats come in to land, they'll be playing 'industrial noise' over loud speakers. The bats will hopefully be so irritated by the sounds that they'll fly on and look for somewhere else to sleep.

As radio announcers do, the interviewer was posing all the possible viewpoints to the Botanic Gardens man who was describing the process.

"What do you say to the many people who say, 'these are just natural creatures, living a natural life. Can't you just leave them alone?" the interviewer asked.

The Gardens guy gave a very reassuring answer to all the bat-lovers, assuring them that they weren't being killed, merely moved along, and it would be in the bats' best interest to live in the bush anyway. The only thing he didn't say was what seemed most obvious to me which was, "Hey, the trees are natural creatures too. What about them?"

All of this is of course very interesting in its own particular way, but as I threw it around in my head a little bit more, it occurred to me that in a relationship, we also often consider the 'bats' to be more important than the 'trees'.

What I mean is this: Person A is like the bat. Person B is like the tree.

Person A's bad behaviour, whether it is lying, cheating or stealing - or whatever - always hurts Person B. But often Person B puts up with it and doesn't make a noise about it. Person A continues on with their bad behaviour.

The damage to Person B is slow and stealthy. And nobody really notices until it's extremely obvious that Person B is suffering. But by that time, we're all so used to the way Person A behaves that we've started to make excuses and allowances for it.

We know that things will have to change otherwise Person B will continue to suffer, but instead of looking at Person B's suffering, we focus on the suffering that Person A will go through if changes are made and we feel sorry for them, having to go through that.

What we forget is that bad behaviour is still bad behaviour. And it has a destructive effect - whether it is slow destruction or immediate.

Bats and trees. There ends the lesson for today. 

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