Thursday, June 3, 2010

Thursday Thinking—Sometimes Parenting is for the Birds


thank you google images

Out under the flagpole on Sunday I saw the mother killdeer with her three baby birds—they’re more like teenage birds now. The mother bird started scratching in the dirt and the little ones followed suit. The four birds were busy scratching, scratching, scratching. The sprinkler made the dirt soft, but pretty soon it made them really wet, too. When that happened, the mother killdeer spread her wings out like an umbrella over the three younger birds while they continued to scratch. It was a perfect visual of good mothering—she expected them to be self-sufficient and independent even when it wasn't comfortable or convenient, and provided them a safe place while they practiced it.


Justin, Cache, Jesse, Hydyn, Maddie, Pal, Calder--this isn't posed, it's just life

Last Saturday Cali and Ray had a big layover in Dallas. They drove north to see my sister’s family in Oklahoma for several hours. I’ve told our kids several times that before they have a family they need to go to Aunt Rachel and Uncle Bert’s for a weeklong workshop on parenting. They’re that good at it. Like Grace and Abe who stayed with the Ellsworth's earlier this spring, Cali and Ray both said their stop was a trip highlight. Watching the family interact, seeing the forts the kids had lashed together, playing Apples-to-Apples (Ellsworth rules include selling your card to the judge; they said the debates were pretty darn funny since the Ellsworth’s don't lack for creativity)—I love every rerun Ray and Cali have told me.

our bossy, loud, and ineffective rooster

Our old hens have dug their way out of the pen. They’ve tunneled right under the wire and out to freedom. They love to scratch their way under the trees, through the pasture, up into the garden. It bugs the rooster they won’t stay where they’re supposed to. He won’t go out of the pen to round them up; instead he paces back and forth watching and crowing at them. Those hens ignore him and do whatever they want because what’s he going to do, crow louder? Though their actions madden him, he does nothing but squawk. He reminds me of a mom I saw at the grocery store that yelled while her kids ran wild. She threatened them with all kinds of dastardly things, but never followed through. It’s funny in the chicken world. It’s not so funny in the people world.

This week there have been lots of things that have made me think about parenting.  Sometimes it has made me smile, sometimes it has made my stomach hurt.

12 comments:

Rachel said...

You're jinxing me. But thank you.
I learned from the master.

michelle said...

Wonderful post, Jane! I love the conclusions you have drawn from watching the mother killdeer, very poignant.

I can't even imagine being so good at parenting that I was offered up as a parenting workshop. Wow, wow. Sign me up! I need all the help I can get.

The rooster and hen story is cracking me up. You're right, funny in the chicken world. Not so funny in the human world.

Sometimes parenting really IS for the birds.

Rachel said...

I love the killdeer story too. I'm going to save it for a talk. Have you ever looked close at that picture of the kids? I think it looks like there is a hidden word in those trees and for the life of me I can't make it out. It's like a Bev Dolittle or a Hidden Mickey, and it bothers me every time I see it.

Jill said...

I love your new banner, the eggs are so pretty!

I have parenting on the brain all the time, and want so much to teach my kids to be good, hardworking people with strong testimonies of the gospel. Do the Ellsworth's take strangers? I believe in selling my card to the judge in that game too!

That's interesting about the rooster not leaving the pen.

How many eggs to you collect a day and what do you do with them all? My mom is getting 12 a day.

Tyler - Danielle - Emree said...

For now I am just glad I don't have a teenager or young adult for that matter ...

We were so excited for Denver so our change in plans is bittersweet, but as you know, everything happens for a reason.

Becky said...

Thank you--I always feel renewed after stopping by your blog! And after a long morning spent cleaning up lots of yucky messes (three sick kids) this post was especially wonderful.

Heather @ Multiple Hats said...

The Killdeer story is fantastic! Darla and I have long said that our children would attend "Rachel's School" if she were only close enough . . .

Deanna/Mimi said...

I enjoyed your posting. It is a beautiful story about the kildeer. Reminds me of a pair of doves who built a nest in my maple tree right outside my computer room window. I saw their courtship, the nest and then the babies. I believe it was the daddy dove that stayed on the nest at night time and the mommy dove during the day or vice versa. All was well and they came back to the same nest the next year and started the process all over again. But along came a stray calico cat who got up in the tree. The doves left and I never saw them again from my window. I miss them. I had named them Lucy and Louie. The cat is now living here and the doves are in distant trees. Reminds me so of life. The doves found a peaceful, happy place to share together, have their babies, and then comes the trials of life and changes things. But they "bounced back" and had to start over again and hopefully they were successful at being parents once again.

Anonymous said...

Do the terms 'dumb cluck', 'bird brain', and 'chicken sh*t' make more sense since you've been raising feathered creatures?

Thanks for yesterday's visit!
BRENDA

Anonymous said...

And the word in the trees is WINDY---misspelled but definitely WINDY.

BRENDA

Brittany said...

Sister Payne, I just love you :) I love reading your posts, they make me miss having seminary with you! I hope all is well.

Emma J said...

I love the pictures your words made of the killdeer spreading her wings. Also love the picture of the bikes in the woods - what a great basket! what a great trail! And those shrieking grocery store parents make me ache, too. Love this post, Jane.