"I can't bring myself to care about insects" - well, this is soooo weird to me, but I get that everyone is coming from a different place.
We do not kill bugs. Period. We live with a large spider population in our home and go out of our way to maintain their habitat and leave them completely undisturbed. The spiders are not to be feared, have no interest in messing with us...and keep the house pretty much completely free of other critters...flies, etc.
We do kill rabbits and chickens and fish and help other people with the slaughter of larger animals. My DD has helped with this on many occasions. She understands that there is a huge difference between us breeding and killing rabbits for food...and stomping a bug just because you can.
We take life very seriously here. We raise and kill as much of our own food as we can, because we find it unbearable to eat the flesh of animals that were raised or slaughtered inhumanely and, really, even if an animal was kept very well...it feels "icky" for me to eat an animal that was killed by someone else. In killing and butchering the animal myself, I feel I am taking responsibility for the death of the creature and know that the creature was properly honored.
My DD takes life very, very seriously. When she finds a dead bug or newt or if we lose a chicken to a dog, etc....she INSISTS upon burying the lost soul and saying nice words over it's little grave.
So....maybe it's normal for some kids to squash bugs. I remember seeing this (and hating it) as a kid. But in this household....while other kids are pulling daddy long legs apart and laughing....my daughter is digging little holes in the ground and burying them in little matchboxs...and speaking words like "I bet you were really good at catching things. I hope you have good dreams when you sleep. I love you" - and yeah, I'm gonna be proud about that as much as I want to...because it IS better to raise our children to be compassionate, to take life seriously and to hold each and every living thing as important, precious and as a part of a larger circle of life that encompasses us all.
Kids know what parents teach. I teach love. I teach responsibility. Senseless killing doesn't have a place in my home....whether we're talking about civilian casualties in a war zone or a bug crawling on the floor...it pisses me off and I don't appreciate hearing other parents thinking it's not a big deal...because, in MY mind, the kid who grows up thinking it's perfectly okay not to care about bugs...is more LIKELY to grow up to be a man or woman who doesn't flinch when the news man drones on about "this or that number of civilians died in Iraq today as US troops stormed so-and-so village".
If you have eight legs or walk upright on two or are a hairy little rabbit...you are born of the same energy into this world and have certain rights.
If I found out that a kid of mine was on the playground and was pulling apart a bug by it's legs while laughing....there would be such an intense conversation about that and a very, very intense series of ongoing discussions coupled with a deeper walk into lessons surrounding the importance of life and respecting the rights of creatures living on this earth.
Sorry for the rant, but I tend to be a "slippery slope" type of gal. I don't expect a child, taught to disrespect "small" forms of life....to grow up with a TRUE and fundamental respect for "larger" forms of life.