Sunday, September 07, 2008

Sometimes the Best Help is no Help

When I was a little, around the age of 9, I acted more like a tomboy than a girl, mostly because I enjoyed doing the things my brothers were doing. I like going hunting, fishing, poking dead things with a stick. I played outside without shoes on, I was always digging in the dirt, I enjoyed climbing trees, and doing all the other unladylike things that a country girl would do.

Back then, and I guess still today, I feel there is a way to make the world a better place. Nothing too big; just a helping hand to someone in need, a shoulder to cry on, a hand to hold, even $5.00 to the drunk guy on the corner, because I feel even people like him, sometimes need a little a little help.

But how do you know when the help has gone to far? At what point to you step back? And realize you are causing more harm than good.

At 9 years old, I figured this out. It was a hard lesson taught, but one I have never forgot.

It was a warm spring day, and we were out of school for summer break. I was out wondering around the 1200 acre property, in the woods behind our house, when I heard a chirping sound coming from a small tree just a few feet in front of me. Being the curious kid that I was, and a part of me fearing that something was wrong and I would somehow be coming to the rescue of something in need, I quickly shimmed my way up the tree.

In the middle of the tree, close to a v-shape branch, sat a nice, newly built birds nest. Inside I could see 3 small eggs, one of course was where the noise was coming from. In my heart I felt the bird was crying out to me, asking for my help to free it from the confines of its shell. The mother or father bird, was no where in site, so I felt I had to help. I gently picked up the egg with the birds beak sticking out and began removing pieces of the shell.

I quickly removed all the shell, doing all the work for it, and when I did the bird stopped chirping. I was happy, thinking that I had just saved it's life. I gently sat it back down in its nest, but it just laid there. I didn't understand why it wasn't moving. I had freed it from its struggle. I continued to watch the baby bird for almost an hour, poking at it occasionally to see if it would move more, but didn't, it just laid there, and I finally had to walk away.

The next day I returned to find the baby bird laying dead on the ground near the tree. In the nest above I could hear the chirping of the other two birds that I had not helped. Later I found out that it is necessary for the baby bird to struggle out of the shell alone; that is what makes them strong enough to be able to one day fly.

Some people tend to forget this lesson in life, or never learn this one, but sometimes we have to let other people struggle alone, if they ever want to fly.

1 comment:

Reverie said...

This is one of the wisest stories I ever read. How many parents shelter their children from life's trials and lessons, thinking they are doing them a service when actually they are not letting them become strong enough to survive.