TWO WEEKS AGO my soon to be 11-year-old daughter comes running into the house very upset. She declared, “We found a baby bird out on the grass … and we don’t know what to do!”
I had a flashback of a similar situation when I was a small boy. I brought a baby bird to my dad asking what we should do with it. My dad, being the practical farmer that he was, took the bird (sparrow) and killed it (I’ll spare you the details).
I didn’t do that to my daughter. I don’t really remember what I said next. Something meaningful and useful, I’m sure. I do remember my daughter speaking to me in her weepy, sweet voice, “But daddy, it’ll die.”
She had won my heart to respond.
I made my way to the scene of the crime and surveyed the possibilities. She and her six and half-year-old brother, made sure I knew we couldn’t touch it or the mother would reject it (chalk one up for good parenting!). My daughter spied a plastic bag (to this day I do not know where it came from) and suggested we, or I, could use it (great troubleshooting skills–chalk up another point for the parents).
After locating where the nest was, and finding it to be on a very low branch, I secured a stepladder and placed it in position. I took the plastic bag from my daughter and formed it around my hand enough to be able to scoop up the rather large baby bird. With both nursing students eyeballing my every move, I placed it back into its nest.
They were probably making sure I didn’t kill it. I wondered if my dad could see me from heaven.
I got down from the ladder, and before I could dispose of the plastic bag from my hand, I got a big hug and smile from my daughter–a homerun in parenting standards. I must admit, I didn’t think the mother would accept the baby back the whole time I was performing this parental duty. Afterall, she was right there in the neighbor’s yard watching the whole thing go down–she KNEW what we did and that it was US who did it.
I can still hear my daughter’s sweet, weepy voice … and that let’s me know I did the right thing in her eyes.
I really wished my dad would have made our moment as sweet, teachable one for me (and the bird).
Perhaps he did.
That memory served to help me to know what needed to be done, or at least one way it should not be done. I do think, whether the bird died or not, at least my daughter has a memory to feed her in life as to a good way to be a parent … at least I hope so.
So two weeks later, after another weekly inspection, the baby robin bird is almost ready to leave the nest. We still see momma bird hopping on the lawn beneath the nest from our kitchen window and see her roosting (is that what robins do?) on our roof (perhaps it is just perching) and this lets us know the baby bird is still alive.
I think about God when I see that bird, and His love in all of this–in several meaningful ways. Can you think of any of those ways?