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two bald eagles perched on a tree

Eagle Parenting

I visit a place from time to time with great anticipation. Bald Eagles nest there. The home that I visit is situated on a 25-acre lake, and each winter, a pair of eagles return and nest. During Thanksgiving week, I saw the two mature eagles gleaming with their black feathers and the white “bald” feathers on their heads and tails. When they take off, a whole tree trembles from the weight transfer. Many times, I have seen them crash head-first into the water to catch their food.

Shortly after I had spotted the pair, I saw a third eagle. This one was an adolescent (with everything that goes with it). He was huge, gangly, a bit awkward, and his feathers were a mottled brown. He wasn’t as cautious, as gracious, or as good at judgment. He took off and attempted to land in three different trees that bordered the lake, breaking branches that were too weak to hold his weight. I laughed when I saw the third failure, and it seemed to me that he was having a bit of a tantrum.

This pair returns year after year, and the adolescent is the fledgling from last year’s nest. I remember seeing the young eagle last year. From the very beginning of its ability to fly, they are teaching and modeling. Each time they fished, the little eagle watched. Eventually, he would trail and watch from the sky. But this year, as far as I can tell, he’s on his own. He’s having to learn by experience. He has watched day after day, but now he’s separated from his parents.

When I think of Christmas, I think of the family journey each of us makes to teach traditions and point our kids toward the birth of Christ amid thousands of voices who say this is just about gifts. But our kids will hear what we say and measure that by what they see us DO.

In the weeks ahead, will you seek to point your kids to the Savior? Will you measure your investment of time and energy in such a way that they catch on to what matters most to you? Our “eaglets” are watching, learning, and making their own attempts at worship, faith, and honoring the Lord. What you demonstrate, they will duplicate.

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