Preparing for Our Own Empty Nest Day

There are lessons we can learn from the animal kingdom. Like you don’t really have to be able to outrun a grizzly bear. You just need to be able to outrun your friends. It really is survival of the fittest out there.

Elephants are my favorite members of the animal kingdom. It’s not because they are cute. They aren’t. It’s because of the way they treat each other. We could learn a lot from an elephant.

Little animals have much to teach us as well. Take birds for example. When young birds are finally ready to leave the nest, momma just pushes them out. There’s no discussion around the issue. There are no special considerations given to the late hatchers, on Empty Nest Day, everyone goes.

When young mothers first look into the eyes of their new born babies, I would guess very few of them think of pushing that baby out of the nest one day. No, looking into perfect little face, most mothers want to hold onto that tiny one forever. The last thing moms want to consider is pushing that precious darling out into the cold, cruel world.

But smart moms know this one thing. One day that little baby is going to be ready to fly from the nest, and smart moms begin preparing for that day long before it ever comes.

Babies are supposed to be dependent on their parents, completely. Without constant attention, those little bundles of joy would not be long for this world. As parents, we meet each and every need to the best of our abilities. And when we do that, something happens. That little baby grows up.

Raising children who are confident and ready to leave the nest on Empty Nest Day is one of a parent’s primary goals. The alternative is having a forty-year-old adult living in your basement because we never taught them how to fly.

Those flying lessons need to start early. That’s often harder for moms to comprehend than it is for dads. By nature, moms are nurturers. We cling. We hover. We smother

I read somewhere once that if we are doing anything for our children that they can do for themselves, we are doing them a disservice. Ouch. As moms, we often have a servant’s heart when it comes to our families, even if we don’t have it anywhere else. That can really get in the way of teaching our kids to fly.

If you have never watched a momma bird on Empty Nest Day, she can seem a bit cruel. Those baby birds are leaving that day. No negotiations. No moving back into the nest later with baby birds of their own. It’s done. Out, out, out.

But the momma bird is doing what she has to do to ensure that her babies survive. If she let them continue to stay in the nest, and she kept bringing them food, they would soon outgrow her abilities to supply their needs, and they would all die. The babies would die from lack of nutrition and exercise, and the momma bird would die of exhaustion.

So how do we moms learn from that momma bird how to prepare for our own Empty Nest Day? Well, we start the day those little bundles of joy come into our lives. The Lord gives us those children for a limited time. It’s kind of like they are on loan to us. Like everything else we have, those children belong to Him. Oh, they will always be our children, but they will not always be our babies.

There are so many bad things in the world that keep parents from readying their kids to live in it. We are afraid for them. But, what if instead of that viewpoint, we raise kids who say, “Look out cruel world, here I come! I hope you are ready for me!”

What if we raise kids who eagerly look forward to Empty Nest Day? I’m not talking about the rebellious, “I can’t wait to get out from under your thumb” kid, but kids that we have properly groomed to find their intended place and purpose in the world, and are anticipating that day.

The day is drawing closer for our first bird to fly away. He’s not quite ready yet, but he is stretching his wings and checking out the scenery. We are pushing him closer to the edge of the nest, and letting him get a new perspective on the world around him. From this vantage point he is beginning to find his place in society. He is beginning to picture his own life outside of our nest.

If you’ve ever watched baby birds leaving their nest, their first few attempts at freedom from the nest are a bit awkward, but they all get it eventually. And when they do, not a one of them ever looks back because they are ready to be on their own.

It works because the momma bird knows from the beginning that she has only a certain amount of time to get those kids ready to fly, and she doesn’t waste a minute. We can learn a lot from that momma bird.

So what do you think?

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