Intentional Thinking

A couple of weeks ago I was mowing the yard when I noticed baby robins chirping away every time the mama or daddy robin flew to the nest.  The robin’s had built their home on the back of our house and was full of eggs before I had not become aware of the nest.  Since the mama robin had already laid her eggs I did not feel I could take the nest down until the baby birds were old enough to leave home.

The mother robin seemed not to mind my close proximity while I was mowing which gave me the opportunity to see the baby birds pop their heads up with mouths opened wide chirping for food.  I was fascinated as I saw the mommy bird continually bring food for the baby birds.  As I was watching, capsule something in particular caught my eye.   One of the babies was a different color than the others.

I was curious as to the color difference and grabbed a ladder to take a closer look.  Upon closer inspection, the baby bird at the back of the nest was underdeveloped and appeared as though it was not getting as much food as the other babies!  I am not sure why but my fathering instincts kicked in and I was off to solve the problem.

The garage was my first stop to get my shovel and off to the back of my yard I went.  My compost pile was the perfect place to dig for worms.  After digging a couple of very productive holes in the dirt, I had seven or eight worms to feed the baby bird.  I climbed back up the ladder and began feeding the undernourished baby bird.  I would tap on the side of the house and he would pop his head up and begin chirping for food.

I continued to feed him for three days when the unanticipated happened!  A strong storm literally blew in with 60-70 mile per hour winds and actually blew the nest off the house.  I was very disappointed, as I feared for the baby robin’s life.  The parents and the three other babies had disappeared while the baby I had been feeding and affectionately named “Junior” was on the ground with the nest.  I found him standing on the ground chirping for his parents and I thought to myself, “He will be dead in a couple of hours if I leave him on the ground.”  I quickly used a piece of plastic to help him back into the nest and barely escaped the attack of the momma robin while I put the nest back into place.

It was now time to play the waiting game.  During the time, I was feeding the baby the momma bird seemed oblivious to my help and now anytime I was in close proximity to the nest she would swoop in and attack.  I was very confused why she would keep me from feeding her baby all the while she did not feed the baby!  I called my dad, who after received his undergrad in biology and worked at Yosemite National Park for a summer, and he told me to let the momma bird take care of her baby.  I had great fear with this plan but I listened to my dad and unfortunately the next morning brought my feared conclusion.  Junior was dead.

I am sure to some this seems trivial but as I processed these events I realized several lessons but one stuck out the most.   Robins have God given instincts that guide them in their short life.  If something happens that is out of the realm of those instincts they only have the ability to stick to those instincts.  The momma bird did not know what to do except protect the baby bird from me.  She did not know how to think and I realized she did not know how to come up with a solution for this new problem.

God made us different from the animals because He has given us the ability to think.  We have the ability to recognize a new situation and think through a new solution, or better known as logic.  Many times, we act like the momma bird instead of using the capabilities God had given us.  I want to encourage you to be diligent, not just going through the motions with your kids, recognizing different personalities, learning skills, abilities and situations utilizing your gift of logic.

If you have more than one child, as my wife and I do, you cannot teach every child the same way.  One of my daughters loves to serve and will always help look for extra jobs to earn more money.  Another daughter dislikes helping but rarely spends her money and is a spendthrift (her momma says she is like her daddy).  And then comes our youngest daughter.  If she has money, it burns a hole in her pocket!  She never has money but always has a huge assortment of lip gloss.  We have a tremendous challenge in communicating financial concepts even in our family.

My recommendation: it’s important to understand your children’s learning styles and use that information as you teach them. My wife and I have used a book called The Way They Learn by Cynthia Tobias to help us in this area with our daughters. I suggest you get your hands on that resource or another one which provides insight into learning styles.

Friday, June 25th, 2010 Learning

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