There was a little bird, newly hatched. After feeding her young, the mother encouraged the bird to take flight. The little bird peered out of her hole in the tree. The way down got the best of her and she ran back into her warm nest. Her mother asked her to come out again with her, Come on. Spread your wings out like this. The little bird didn t want to. We re birds. We don t fall. Just spread your wings and flap. It will be okay. The mother tried to assure her as she saw the little bird s frightened look. Come on, it s easy! her mother called out again. Still, the little bird didn t budge. If you don t do it now, you ll never do it, she said to no avail. The little bird hesitated, quickly spread her wings out, and whimpered as she ran back to her nest. The mother has had it. That s it! This is so easy and you can t even do it! You ll never fly now! She told the little bird angrily, and flew out of their tree.
I ve found myself in similar situation before. I am the Mother Bird. Whenever I help my children out with their homework, I cannot understand how even after countless repetitions, 2+2 can be anything other than 4. I d inhale and exhale for the first few tries and use everything I ve got left in me to hold myself from passing any kinds of judgments on my children (although I have found that silently redirecting the rage towards their teachers helped a little.) I ve got to admit there are so many other things I would rather subject myself to than to teach my children. I d tell myself that teaching them was hard because they just don t get it, or that I don t have the patience or the passion for it. I can go on all day making a million excuses why I m not the right person to teach them. But the fact will remain: as their parent, it is my job to teach them. And that I am just the right person to do that.
It is my job to tell them that no matter how many times we ve failed, we need to get up and try again, because quitting is not an option. It is my job to tell them that there are no stupid people in this world and that when we put our mind to it, we too can be successful. Most importantly, it s my job to show them kindness, to motivate them when they can t and to help them paint a good image about themselves. Because hey, when life hands you lemons… suck it! Patience is just something I m going to have to master.
The story actually ends with the mother coming back to her nest only to find her young has been turned into another s dinner, because she was an easy catch. Even when she found herself in trouble, her mother s words still rang in her ears, telling her that she would not be able to do it, so the poor little bird didn t even try.
Let s make sure that our children will learn to believe in themselves because we believed in them first. Let us do our jobs well so that when we leave the nest, they will be ready to fly on their own.
Photos courtesy of adorable twin babies, Ryu and Reiner. Photographed by Fen for Baby AXIOO.