(Photo credit: Found at www.indiana.edu/~nehrigr/bird-intro/slides/killdeer_9661.html)
"It's okay, little Mama bird, I won't harm your babies!" The killdeer swooped higher and higher, showing great acrobatic feats as she squawked loudly, protesting as I drew closer to her nest. I felt so sorry for her. I knew she was desperately trying to take care of her "children," and was worried for their safety.
However, I couldn't stop thinking that she was a little to blame. Killdeer, sweet little birds like the one shown in the above photo, lay their eggs right out in plain sight for all to see. She had, whether she realized it or not, placed her own family in danger. Mama bird then showed her dramatic side: Act I included her "broken wing" act that these plovers are so famous for, where they pretend they are wounded when anyone comes close to the nest. Pitiful cries complete the act and if she captured your attention, she considers herself worthy of an AAA (Aviary Academy Award)!
This protective little mother made me think of my own maternal skills. Do I unknowingly place my "baby bird," in harms way? What would this look like?
Here are a few things I will do to keep my sweet daughter out of harm's way:
1) Be careful what I let her watch on television or movies. When I was little, we used to sing, "Oh, be careful little eyes what you see, oh be careful little ears what you hear..."
2) Remind her to choose her friends wisely. Especially as a preteen, I need to make sure that Hannah, my little social butterfly, is careful with whom she becomes close to. I mean, I definitely want her to get to know all types, all ethnicities, all ages, all races, and so on. But I especially want her to think about who her closest friends are, for her to choose those who lead her closer to God and not farther from Him.
3) I need to be careful what I watch. I need to make sure I'm not a hypocrite, and watch or listen to media that is not adhering to principles I stand for. She's watching me. She's watching her daddy. And she will make choices based on what we DO so much more than what we TELL her to do.
4) Watch my language. I'm not just talking about curse words (although that counts too). I'm talking about curbing my negativity. I will sometimes realize too late what's coming out of my mouth is just "blah negative blah negative blah." And I cringe. I have to go to her (actually did this today) and tell her, "Hey, I didn't meant to focus on just the negative. I'm sorry. That was wrong." I don't even want to say how often I have to do this.
I must watch my language in how I talk about people as well. Do I air someone's dirty laundry in the privacy of my own home, where little listening ears can hear? If I do, I need to realize that she is listening to me talk about someone else. She is listening to me, basically, judge someone else with my tone or attitude, and that's not what Jesus does. When the woman who committed adultery was thrown at His feet, His loving, caring ways won her heart. He "chased" off her accusers by writing their sins in the sand. Then He said that He did not condemn her, but to go and sin no more.
This makes me recall the last part of the song I quoted earlier, "Oh be careful little eyes..." The rest goes like this: "For the Father up above, is looking down with love, Oh be careful little eyes what you see." Isn't that great? It's so true. He's looking down with love. Not condemnation. Just longing for us to keep His ways and follow Him.
I want to do my best to keep Hannah from all the above mentioned "danger zones," and many more out there. I long to place her up high, in the "shadow of the Almighty," as much as possible. I will "mount up with wings as eagles," the same eagles who build their nests in tall trees or cliffs. A high place. A safe place. That's where I plan to be.
Won't you join me there?