Thursday, May 26, 2011

So, just exactly how do you feed a baby bird?

On the back porch of our old home was an empty, hanging flower planter.  It sat there for months like that until someone (I’m still not sure who) placed a beat up old nylon plant into it. There wasn’t much to the plant, mostly just the moss. And even though it wasn’t the most aesthetically pleasing thing to look at, it quickly became home to a family of birds.

Occasionally I would hoist kids over my head to look at the small white speckled eggs that lay there. And, when they hatched, we pulled up a stool so the kids could peak into the nest all by themselves. It was a wonderful reminder of the beauty of life and nature. Year after year another family of birds would build their nests there. And year after year, we would always watch those little eggs hatch into a little family.

Then one morning, we found a little baby bird on the hard cement, still hanging on. The nest was empty. Knowing the cats in the neighborhood, we scooped up the little bird, made a home for it and set out to nurse it back to health. Google was our best friend as we discovered ways to care for this bird.

However, I could not save this little bird. Try as I might, it would not eat the food I tried to give it. We coaxed as much as we could. I tried and tried to help it understand that the food I was giving it would provide nourishment. I tried gently prying its beak open just enough to place the tiniest amount of food inside. I never wished so hard that I could speak this baby bird’s language. No matter how hard I tried to show this bird that the food would help him, he refused to eat. He refused to be nourished. And soon, he perished.

There are so many days in my life as mom, especially a mom of teenagers, that I feel similar feelings. On so many levels.

We do the best we can as parents to provide a warm safe home for our “little birds” and yet they often insist on trying their own wings a little too early. We can coax and persuade and attempt to teach. But sometimes, children are a little like this bird, they refuse the aid that is right in front of them. They refuse nourishment. And, oh how I wish I could speak their language.

The great challenge as a parent, I am realizing, is trying to help my children see that the counsel their father and I give them, will help them. It will strengthen them.

I have been blessed with such wonderful children. I know that the problems I face with my children are minor compared to some. And yet, I still want the most for them. I still want to “pry their beaks open” just enough to give them a taste of what lies ahead for them. But, unless they want the help, the nourishment, so to speak, like the bird, they will not take it.

So, what is it you do as parents that helps your children want to accept the counsel you might have for them? How do you keep your children “nourished” even when they don’t want it?


Square Root of Family said...

You are a great writer! You need to be writing articles or books!

Tami said...

Kathy--I think you just keep trying. More nourishment is getting in than you realize--and they will never admit it--until they are grown, and they will tell you what a great mother bird you were! You are amazing!