This past we have been watching the hatching of baby eagles. There is a live camera positioned on the eagles on Hornby Island, just off the coast of British Columbia. We have literally had the site up on our computer 24/7! It has been amazing to watch as the mama and papa birds have taken turns watching over the little eggs. Even cooler to then watch them take care of their new little chick after it hatched. I have learned so much from watching these birds that I can actually apply in my own life!
Lesson 1: Primary Responsibilities
The mama bird is the primary care taker, but the daddy will come in every once in awhile to take over the job while the mama gets herself replenished. After the baby hatches, the father will provide food for the mom and his new little one while the mother stays to care for the baby chick. It is important to know, especially for mothers, that they are the primary caretaker and home is the right place to be. However, it is just as important that the mama bird takes time to replenish herself for more long sitting on the nest. From the Proclamation on the Family:
"By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners."
Lesson 2: Taking Flight
Though the new bird isn't even close to flying yet, I read here about how the parents train their little ones to fly. Basically, the parents leave their little one in the nest and allow it to get hungry, thin even. The baby then watches as the parents fly by in the near distance with food dangling from their talons. As time goes on, the parents get closer and closer with the food, never allowing the baby to taste, only increase in hunger and desire for the food. Finally, when the baby is confident enough he swoops and begins to fly, allowing the wind to carry him. The parents don't leave him alone, still. They drop the food just within reach of the young eagle, he grabs and eats. Success!
The analogy here is obvious, I'm sure. We all know the oft-quoted proverb, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for life.” Learning how the eagles teach their young has given me more insight on how I want to teach my own "how to fish."
The Dangling Principle in Action
My husband and I have differing ideas on how to go about training our kids in matters of money. Do we pay them an allowance, pay them for extra chores, make them pay for certain things when they reach certain ages, etc., etc.?? Then there's the matter of teaching them to save and to pay tithing at church, and help & serve others monetarily. I am learning the art of "dangling." I take my kids to the store, they see the very thing they want within the first ten steps inside, right? We've all been there! My question to each of them is, "Do you have any money?" Dangling! They don't. We move on. They see something else. "Do you have any money?" Dangling! Nope. We keep going. I've also stopped myself these past few months from giving into the thought, "It's just a dollar," when they want something. At younger ages, it's out of sight out of mind, more instant gratification like the baby birds. With older kids I'm starting to recognize how they are "getting hungry" and "growing thinner." They are seeing and wanting, but not reaching and now their wheels are starting to turn. What can they do to make that money to buy that one coveted item?
This principle can work in many different areas other than making, saving and spending money. Reading, riding a bike, joining a sports team, writing, math, and nourishment. We can teach our children to fish so that they might spread their wings and fly by giving them the correct tools to do so!