I have a soft spot for honey bees and hilarious cartoons, so it only makes sense that I love The Bee Movie.
Embarrassingly, some of my friends have declared that it’s “trash” and “the epitome of weirdness.” One of them said she watches it to “drown my woes in dumb bees.”
I completely disagree with them. Despite its occasional bizarre moments, I think The Bee Movie is truly a stupendous film. Yes, it makes me laugh out loud, and the quotes and memes are stellar comedy. But what really makes it stand out is the way it illustrates the value of work.
Throughout most of the film, the bees are hard at work, doing their small part to produce honey, whether it’s being a stirrer, a hive keeper, or a pollen collector. They are, essentially, being busy as bee. (Original content here, am I right? 😝) But later on, through the efforts of our protagonist Barry B. Benson, humans are no longer allowed to ‘steal’ honey from the bees and they have to give it all back. This means the bees now have a vast surplus of honey and don’t have to work anymore.
Without the bees working and pollinating, plants and crops can’t grow, and humans can’t eat. This is the most obvious message of the movie: without bees, the world can’t function properly. But I noticed another interesting thing. When the bees stopped working, society started spiraling. They spent their days sunbathing by the pool, gorging themselves on honey, and becoming lazy overall. It was wonderful at first, but after a while it got boring. The bees didn’t know what to do with themselves, and the deteriorating world outside reflected this.
Why? Because work, rather than being something to avoid like the plague, is actually a glorious duty from which equality, virtue, and ultimately freedom spring forth. It’s how character can be produced. Instead of the moral of the story being “the world cannot function properly without bees”, a more apt moral would be “the world cannot function properly without work.”
Now, I’m not saying taking a rest or a vacation is a bad thing. Rest is also very important (God even took a day of rest and declared it holy), but that’s a different discussion. I’m also not advocating for workaholics, people who work too hard in pursuit of money at the expense of their family and/or their personal health and wellbeing.
But recently I’ve been observing a lack of a good, strong work ethic. So many people do whatever it takes to avoid working. They snatch up any welfare benefits, government checks, and free handouts they can get their hands on, and when they do work, they’re complaining every second of it and can’t wait to be done with it. I bet most people would be okay with a humbler home, humbler clothes, more boring food, etc. if it means they don’t have to work. This is exactly the mentality behind regimes like socialism and communism, because free stuff that you don’t have to work for sounds very attractive. You line up for food, clothing, and toothpaste to be distributed to you by the government, and you have time to go do what you enjoy! Like watching movies, hanging out with friends, playing sports, and writing articles about bees and communism.
Unfortunately, that’s all one big, fat lie.
Nothing is free in this life. After all, clothes and food and houses don’t float down from magical delivery pelicans. If I don’t work for myself, someone else does. Any handouts, checks, etc. that I receive is the result of someone else’s blood, sweat, and labor. That means they become my slaves, and we can all agree that slavery is wrong.
Additionally, look at what happened when the bees stopped working. They suddenly had all this time on their hands, and you know what they say about that? Idle hands are the devil’s playground.
The bees became slothful gluttons. Humans become ripe breeding grounds for all kinds of sin. Remember the pandemic lockdowns, when we suddenly had all this free time? Did we honestly become more virtuous people productively seeking out noble pursuits? Or did we spend hours languishing on YouTube, video games, and social media? The vast majority of mankind chose the latter, in addition to occupying themselves with drugs, lust, and other harmful but enjoyable pastimes.
This world and the devil would lie to us, telling us that work is evil and bothersome and to be avoided at all costs.
But the truth is that work is just the opposite. God worked for six days crafting the universe, and He created us humans, made in His image, to work as well. His first command for us was to “…fill the earth and subdue it.” We are to rule over all of Creation, and that takes work. But since He created us to work, we get all sorts of amazing benefits from it. We become better, more honorable and virtuous people, learning traits such as diligence, patience, and perseverance. Through working, we derive satisfaction and pride at everything we are able to accomplish for ourselves and for others. We are able to be independent masters of our own destiny, not owing debt for our success to anyone or any entity other than ourselves.
And the brilliant thing about work is that it is the Great Equalizer. It doesn’t matter what you do, whether you’re a minimum wage worker cleaning tiles in a fast food restaurant that will get dirty again in thirty five seconds, or if you’re a mother raising a baby human soul that eerily resembles a puppy, or if you’re Elon Musk turning numbers and equations inside out to design rocket models to conquer the stars. All laborers gain equal virtue benefits, and we all understand and value what each other does. We know what it’s like to flop in bed after a long day, exhausted, in pain, drained out…but knowing that you have accomplished a good day’s work.
I swim nearly every day, and I’ll admit, some days I don’t work as hard as others. But on the days that I do put an immense amount of effort in, times when I push myself so hard I swallow bile, the world spins, and I feel like I’m setting myself on fire…those are the days I come home the happiest, proudest, and most satisfied.
If you haven’t figured it out by now, work is amazing. Once the bees got back into business, life flourished, and this is the same with us. Economies run stupendously with more diligent workers, making our lives better and easier, making it more enjoyable to work. And the cycle continues. We need to get it into our heads that work is good, even if the actual task is tedious and mind-numbing.
If the bees can do it, so can we.
I could rant about the importance and value of work all day long…but I’ll end here because I already used the word ‘work’ waaaayy too many times already. 😂 Thirty-four, to be precise.
If you’d like to read more about this topic from someone wiser and more eloquent and knowledgeable than myself, check out these speeches by my favorite president ever, Calvin Coolidge! That man was full of gold nuggets of wisdom and you won’t regret reading them.
I just realized it would have been more suitable to post this on Labor Day…but oh well, there ain’t no way I’m waiting that long. 😂 I’m thinking of following this up with tales of my own work shenanigans at the world’s best fast food restaurant…make sure you’re subscribed so you don’t miss that next week!
Until next time,