I marvel at the parenting skills that these two proud parents display and sometimes I just think that we humans should be ashamed of ourselves with our poor performance in this area. After all, so many of our kids are graduating from high school without being able to comprehend adult English either spoken or written. Many have no discernible skills and now a huge number of twenty somethings and even older have returned to the parent's nest as they are unable support themselves. We also have a very obvious "fat" problem, with too many kids spending their free time exercising their fingers on a keyboard instead of getting exercise in the fresh air. Whatever happened to kids playing seasonal sports in the neighborhood or using all the fancy playground equipment so many schools have today?
Contrast that with the animal world of which most of us know little and seemingly care even less. Horses are born effortless and with a little coaxing the foals are up on their feet and able to move about within an hour of birth. Their mares literally shoo them away after only a few months to fend for themselves amongst their herd.
Eagles teach their young to fly quickly. Poppa bird just knows when it's time for junior to fly and he literally pushes him out of the nest and off the branch if he doesn't try to fly on his own. Shortly thereafter he is trained in the hunt and is then ready to help gather his own food and completely fend for himself. No return to the empty nest in this community. Independence and self-reliance is the rule.
And that brings me to these darling little geese, so cute and cuddly but also learning survival skills. I had the occasion to observe one of them after nearly suffering a fatal mishap yet, with minimal parental physical effort but much coaxing, he recovered on his own. I couldn't have helped him if I had tried as his parents were adamant that I was to leave him alone to figure things out.
We keep our geese in a special pen adjacent to the chicken coops at night. Previously we lost a large number of our flock when we allowed them to stay out in the pasture. They were viciously attacked by a pack of coyotes which were out on the hunt and, when all was said and done, Ringo our gander and Lucy his goose were all that remained.
After the babies were born we kept them in the house for a number of days with a heat lamp and then transferred them back to their mother in the pen. We only allowed them out of the pen when either my wife or I was with them, fearing that eagles or other predatory birds might find them for lunch.
A couple of weeks ago, now highly mobile and knowing to stay close to the watchful eyes of Poppa Ringo or Mama Lucy, we started turning the family out in a side yard. It had a wading pool, a shaded shed with a roof and plenty of grass and bugs to eat. We let them out in the morning and bring them back to the pen in the afternoon and all has gone well.
Well, not exactly. All went well until about ten days ago when they were waddling from pen to yard. One of the little ones stumbled into a fire ant mound, and sank up to the juncture of his leg with his body trunk. The poor little guy was covered in bites and we took him to the pool and placed him in it to see how he would make out. We really weren't sure if he would survive so many stings with so much toxic poison.
For a few days he was slow moving to and fro, requiring frequent rest stops and visibly showing pain with his limp. Mama took things slowly for a few days before picking up the pace. She would shortly stop and look back, but she never came to his side and forced him to make his way on his own.
Now, with just a minor limp, the little guy is going full tilt and will soon be fully recovered. He did most of it on his own as animals do and it really makes me wonder sometimes how badly we humans have missed the mark.
The next time your child whines for something that is not needed or doesn't want to cooperate and follow your instructions as kids will do, remember this little story. It was a great learning experience and I will share it as a lesson with my granddaughters. Children become what they are taught and if we don't teach them skills that will make them a success in life they will have a difficult time in the future. I am sure none of us want that. Love them but make them responsible and teach them about God and how important He is to a good life, both here and in the hereafter. They will appreciate it later in life and when they are grown and gone you won't have a problem with them coming home to stay.
Remember, as we were taught in Genesis by the story of the Creation, we were given dominion over all the animals. That doesn't mean, however, that we ourselves can't learn some valuable lessons in life from them. They are taught to survive and we humans clearly need to do a better job of it ourselves. Think about it and glory in the wonders of the animals that God has chosen to use to show His power and majesty. Hallelujah!