Springtime is here. My favorite sign that spring is here, is being able to watch the birds, and not for the usual reasons. I like to see what these beautiful creatures can teach me ... about parenting.
Springtime is finally here. Aside from a date on a calendar telling us it's so, there are some key things that happen signifying the change in seasons. There is, of course the longer, warmer days, the plants begin to come back to life, and then there is my favorite sign that spring is here: birds. Birds are one of God's many creatures that I look at in absolute wonderment, and not for the reasons you might be thinking. Of course, I love to watch how effortlessly and freely birds glide across the blue sky. And just like you, I love opening my window in the morning to fill my house with the beautiful serenades of the sparrow. However, the thing I love most about birds, is what they teach us about parenting. Allow me to explain: First, they protect their young before birth. As a long-distance trail runner, I venture daily to the mountains near my home. While there, I see myriad birds, particularly eagles, crows and magpies with a few hundred pigeons and sparrows here and there. There is one particular run that I do frequently in the spring, just so I can watch the ravens build a nest for their eggs. The mother and father will take turns gathering sticks and building the nest. One will drop the sticks at the bottom of the tree (well, telephone pole in this case), and the other will weave it through, building the nest. This is not a process that takes place over one day, but weeks. As I watch these birds build a nest, I am reminded of how important it is to make a safe environment for our children before they get here. It is no wonder we say that women who insatiably clean during pregnancy, are "nesting." Birds are the perfect example of this. Birds are also very protective. Just the other day, I was heading up toward the mountain where there is another raven nest that I have never seen, but I know is there. The reason I know is because the ravens will hover above, crowing at me until I am a safe distance away. To some, this may be bothersome, but to me it is yet another reminder of what great parents these birds are. They hover above danger with a watchful eye making sure their children are safe from harm. They are diligent in taking care of their children's needs. A few years ago, we had a nest in one of our vents. It was a family of magpies who found the hole in the back of our home. We have two tall trees in our backyard, and I remember watching as the mom and dad would take turns feeding the babies while the other watched from the other tree. They were so meticulous in how they did this and so diligent. The feeding of their babies went on all day, and we would even hear little footsteps above our living room ceiling in the night. There was no sleep for these new parents. There came a time when we needed to rid our house of these birds. I was a difficult thing to do, but as we carefully did so, we noticed that some of the baby birds did not yet know how to fly. But what happened next was remarkable: The mother and father put themselves in harms way (us), as they returned to our yard, and one by one, gathered each of their children, walking them across the street to safety. I will forever remember that as an example of the sacrifice and love parents should have for their children. Finally, and this is the most difficult one for me: They know when to let go. As protective as birds are, they know that keeping their young under their wings for too long, will cause more harm than good. They know that the sooner their birds know how to "expand their wings," the better off they will be. And, while I know flying is essential for bird survival, we can take a cue from this, too. Hovering over our children does not allow for them to learn, grow or experience life. It's something I need to work on as my children are getting older. So, as the earth transitions into spring, let us enjoy the many wonderful things this time of the year brings. While you're at it, take a second to see what this season can teach you and you may be surprised at what you find.%3Cimg%20src%3D%22http%3A//beacon.deseretconnect.com/beacon.gif%3Fcid%3D156404%26pid%3D46%22%20/%3E