I drive slowly down my street to get home, which includes an area of trees, wild grasses and the occasional soda can or lost piece of paper. It is usually a non-committal drive, with my head swirling with ideas and concerns, not paying attention to the road at all. Yesterday was different. In between the trees was a mother bird, brown breast with brown-flecked wings. 6 inches in front of her was her tiny twin, obviously her offspring. The little one was walking away from her, turning to look back every second or so. Her beak seemed to say, “Go on, little one,” as the tiny bird inched farther along from her mom. It was such a sweet situation to observe!
Of course, all parents have gone through the same thing, pushing our little ones out of the nest. It is an 18, (or 19 or 20) year push. Lessons start early. An infant learns that he can depend on us to meet his needs, and trust that we are there for him. As a toddler develops, he tries to stretch the boundaries, asserting his own will, sometimes throwing a tantrum. As parents, we teach him how to handle his frustration differently, diverting tantrums into learning experiences. We give him lots of choices so that he feels in control, and lots of activities that he can do independently, giving him that sense of self he so desperately needs to develop. When it is time for school, we send them off like mother birds, nudging them along towards independence. We smile, wave, and hide the tears as he goes off to school for the first time, making it a great independent experiment!
By our own modeling, we teach him to be considerate of others, to share, to accept and to encourage. It is by demonstrating the “do unto others” concept that he learns not only his own value, but the value of all human life.
My oldest son, Francis, a manager for a large tech company, goes out of his way to hire individuals with disabilities. He often remarks it is easy to overlook their capabilities when presented with their physical impairments. As a teen, he used to build houses for Habitat for Humanity and teach Sunday School. As a teen, my daughter, Dinora, raised money for the development of a soup kitchen in her native Guatemala, even visiting and working there herself when she graduated from college. Even now, as a successful make-up artist, she regularly sends them money. When younger, Steven, with the weight of all of his own problems, looked kindly upon others, volunteering to help people carry groceries or donating his precious change to someone in need. (I will never forget traveling the subway in Boston and he kept asking me for change to give to all of the musicians and beggars down in the tunnels. He was devastated when I ran out of money.) Angel, who currently works 2 jobs to pay for his car, continues to make time to work at a camp for children who are blind where he has volunteered since he was 14. And Marie, who has so many issues herself, takes pride in leading a young schoolmate with Down Syndrom to get his daily medication from the nurse. She is gentle and kind and considerate of his special needs.
As that mother bird nudged her birdling towards independence, we need to nudge our own children to care about others. The future of Peace depends upon it.
Comments on: "What to Learn from Baby Birds" (11)
You have raised and are raising magnificent young people!
Reblogged this on News With a Catholic View.
Beautiful, caring children you have! My son is naturally that way. I didn’t have to teach him, other than treating him respectfully (even when he was a toddler). I can still remember taking him to parks when he was little and when he’d see a younger child who’d fallen and was upset (he was around 4, they would be about one or two), he would go over to them and help them up, and then start being silly to get them to laugh. He’s still that way as a young teen.
This post, I think, as there are so many wonderful posts, is my favorite. It is especially poignant now when the world is going crazy and you wonder why parents didn’t teach better. I have a friend who complained that her 7 month old grandson was “spoiled”. I have always believed this is virtually impossible. If a baby cries it’s for a reason even if that reason is just needing to be held. That’s what fosters trust, self-worth and eventually the ability to know they can stand on their own. You are doing a magnificent job with your kiddos! And, I’m quite sure that they will do a magnificent job raising theirs.
Those are amazing kids that youve raised.
Your children sound wonderful. I’m proud of my five kids and grateful for their different little personalities, and your post has really got me looking forward the future! (I’m happy not to rush it, though :))
That’s one of the problems of life…it goes by too fast!!
I love this! Going to share it on FB. You have raised some wonderful birds who are flying high!
Wow! What kind of model did you set for your children? How did you raise such involved and sympathetic individuals?
Reblogged this on Handicap and commented:
This is something we should all work on. When I read this, it has a lot of meaning to me, as I hope it will you.
Hi! I was just editing a post from a year ago, where I nominated you for an award. And I realized I had not been to visit in a looong time.
You have raised wonderful, compassionate people!