Friday, May 18, 2007


Our second clutch of Morning Doves has left the nest. I hate the fledgeling stage. They stay on the ground for a few days until they learn how to fly. Their parents still feed them too. This makes them easy targets for predators. They are out front of my house, so I can control access by my dog and cat, but I can't control access by other animals in the neighborhood. I always breathe a sigh of relief when they move on, and I don't find any dead birds in my yard. I wish there was another way for them to do this, but unfortunately, this is nature's way.

The fledgeling stage with my children is almost as hard. While they are better equipped than the baby birds to take care of themselves, they still have alot to learn, and are naive about many dangers in the world. Joseph Smith taught that we should "teach them correct principles, and let them govern themselves". I agree with this, but I always wonder if I have taught them enough.

My daughter has been away to school for a year now, and has come home for the summer. She will be moving off campus when she returns to school in the fall. My biggest concern is that she will die of malnutrition. She has consistently resisted my efforts to teach her to cook. I'm wondering how long she can live off Ramen noodles, salad, and cereal. Like I said, I hate this fledgeling stage.

I do have to say that I have a ray of hope. When I was in college, there was a girl who lived below me in the apartments. Her family lived near mine, so at Thanksgiving we carpooled with a guy who had a car to go home for the holidays. As we talked, she explained that she was an art student. She was kind of mousy, and very quiet. When we dropped her off at her house, I found that her family lived in very humble circumstances, probably owing to the fact that they had a lot of children. I kept wondering about the sacrifices this family was making so that she could go to school. I kept wondering how in the world a major in art would pay back for the money her family had sacrificed.

Just this past weekend I was looking in a magazine and spotted a picture of a work of art. Just below it was the name of this girl. When she was a quiet, mousy looking student at BYU, I couldn't see her potential. That fledgeling stage has a tendency to make us wonder if the youth will even survive. But now I see that she grew in to something great. It gives me hope for my own fledgelings.

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