We have a lot of trees in our yard. Therefore, we have a lot of nesting birds each spring. And, throughout the summer, we often witness what at first seems like a cruel practice. Most birds, it seems, have a simple method for teaching their fledglings to fly.
They give ’em a good push over the top of the nest.
Naturally, the not-so-confident young birds simply tumble to the ground. For a while–no doubt and eternity to them–they struggle to fly, hopefully figuring out the fundamentals of aerodynamics before the first cat prowls by or the first hawk passes overhead.
While I don’t completely understand nature’s method for flight training, I can relate to the necessity of sending our youth into the world before their wings have fully formed. Think about it, when would you have been “ready” to leave home? That’s right. We’d still be living in the basement, drinking Jolt cola and playing Assassin’s Creed.
Last week our youngest tumbled from the nest and landed in Saginaw Valley State University in Saginaw, Michigan. Mother hen kept a close eye on him for the next few days via the miracle of modern social networking. Much like our Robins watching from a tree limb, though, she knew that there would be little she could do if our young flyer made some bad decisions.
Birds only need to learn two things: how to fly and what to eat.
If they’re anything like teenagers, the “what to eat” part seems pretty instinctive. But our children must also learn morality, faith, and how to stand up for their beliefs. If you ask me, it’d be easier to teach them to fly.
This is where our own faith as parents comes into play. We’re not sending our children into the world alone, we’re sending them out under the loving eye of their Father in heaven. I find it interesting that our children have more faith in that arrangement than the parents. After all, weren’t we the ones that sent them to Sunday school, VBS, and youth group for all those years?
But faith we must have. In God, yes. But also in our kids. They didn’t click off the brain on their way out the door, regardless of what their spending and hygiene habits might suggest. Believe it or not, they’ve ingested all those lessons, whether they got them from you or from a Sunday school teacher whose name you’ve long forgotten.
You’ve given them the shove. You’ve watched them from your facebook perch, now trust them to trust God.
Your job is done. Let the Master take over from here.