Learning to Fly


By John Croyle

Have you ever seen a momma bird tending to her babies who are still in the nest?  She almost continually goes back and forth finding worms and insects to feed them so they can get the nourishment they need in order to grow stronger.

Most times the daddy bird has built the nest—working hard to gather the limbs, leaves, twigs, feathers, hair, strings, and all of the other materials needed to construct a sturdy, safe place for the eggs to be laid and the baby birds to be raised. Their “home” has been meticulously woven together for a specific purpose—to nourish their babies, protect them from harm and rear them into strong, independent adult birds.

But there comes a time when they have to push their babies out of the nest.  At this point, there are three things that can happen:

1. They push the baby birds out of the nest before they’re ready to go, and they fall to the earth and are crippled, or die. Their untrained and unprepared wings are not strong or mature enough to function as they were designed.

2. They keep them in the nest too long, and the baby bird is too heavy to fly. Their wings are not strong enough to carry the weight of their body in flight.

3. They choose just the right time to “boot” the baby out of the nest, and they are prepared and trained to fly perfectly.

What kind of parent are you? Will your children be prepared to be out on their own, as adults and functioning members of society?

We should all provide the basics of food, clothing and shelter for our children, along with safety and security.  When it is pouring down rain or bitter cold, we make sure that they are covered, safe and warm. It feels like our whole existence is centered around taking care of them as they are growing up.

But when that time comes, when your babies have shed their down fuzz and the baby feathers are replaced with strong, mature feathers, will you be confident in the fact that they are ready? Will they be equipped with all of the tools they need for success?   

Do not be guilty of pushing your child out of the nest too early, when their wings are not yet ready to fly, and they are crippled right out of the gate. Each child is different (as all parents know all too well!) Don’t think just because it worked for one child it will work for another. Make sure you have prepared them before you send them out on their own.

But don’t be guilty of waiting too late,  either,  letting your child get complacent and lazy by continuing to meet their every need long past their launch date, which can set them up for failure in the long run. Whether it’s conscious or unconscious, you are telling your child that it is okay to not succeed.  And by the time you decide it’s time for them to be on their own, they may be psychologically and emotionally stunted—unprepared for life and its many challenges.

Choosing the right time for your children to fly on their own is not a matter of minutes, days or months. Knowing the right time means taking advantage of every day to work toward the time that one’s babies will leave home and fly on their own. Then once they do, they sleep well at night knowing they did their job and at just the right time they lovingly pushed their children out of the nest because they knew they were ready.

Now, Mom and Dad, there’s not a doubt in my mind that you want the best for your child. You want to choose that perfect time. But might I suggest that if you have done your job right, you AND your child will know. It will still be scary, and there will still be things that you may need to coach them on. But if that foundation is there, and if you have lived your life and taught your children by the example you have set, you do not need to worry. Just trust in God when He promised in Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

Let’s make sure we are instilling in our children the values and principles that they will need for their future. It’s never too late to start.  Your “baby birds” are counting on you!

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