This past Monday I took the kids on a nature walk through the marsh close to our house. The sun was full overhead and we have the sunburns to show that there was no escaping it's rays! The map was read incorrectly and the wrong path chosen. What was supposed to be a little over one mile walk turned into close to three miles. It was a little long for Anna - but it was fun!
We heard the birds. Saw the different wild life flying overhead and watched as they went about their day in the marsh they call home. We saw several different families of Canadian Geese. Now, if you do not know me personally, you may not understand my fear of birds; but I do own an extreme paranoia of birds. (I have come to the conclusion that being chased by a turkey at a young age can mess with a person's head for the rest of her life.) Because of this fear, I have not spent a lot of time studying the habits and lifestyle of any species of birds. Canadian Geese included.
Because of my ignorance on this subject matter, I found myself fascinated with the way these birds travel in families. As we walked the trail we could see many different geese in the water. It seemed no matter how many geese there were, you could tell where they all belonged. New babies have recently been born and stay close to their mother and father. We would see two adult geese in the water and then see their young swimming nearby them in the marsh. It was great fun to see how much of a unit they were. All together.
The kids noticed it too. They pointed it out. I used it as an object lesson on unity. We walked further - saw more - and talked about how neat it was to see even nature able to understand the concept of family unit. We talked about identity. Working together. We kept walking. (remember, we were on the long trail).
We were nearing the end of our walk when we noticed two family units swimming in a fairly small area of water. One set of parents had one little baby following after them. The other family had quite a few more bringing up their parade. Seven to be exact. One of the young from the big family decided that he wanted to go and be a part of the other family. He tootled on over there to be by his 'friend'. It was then that the mother or father of the 'only child' family took over and began pecking at the stow away making him get away from his child. He pecked and he honked and he spread his wings. It was quite a show! The kids watched. We all took it in. He was telling the other kid - "this is not your family". "Get on home now". The little goose got the picture. He turned around and went on home to his family just across the way. He went to the back of the line and swam along with his other siblings. Perhaps it was just me, but I thought he even looked a little sad.
I was amazed. Amazed at how birds, who have no reasoning intelligence - only instinct - could ward off the fact that this was not how it was supposed to be. Amazed at how protective they were of their family unit. And, as I stood there, I understood the feelings of the honking parent. I have felt that was too. The need to protect the family unit. The need to make a statement that this is our family - this is the way that we are headed and we don't need someone else coming in and messing up what direction we have for our family. I stood there and felt like that goose.
Sometimes as parents we have to say enough is enough. This is how it is going to be. This is not how it is going to be. Sometimes we offend people. Sometimes there are people who don't understand. Sometimes the one's most offended are our very own children. Sometimes parents have to say, "God made us a family and we will grow, we will minister and we will live - as a family.
Sometimes we have to protect our kids against the world. We need to put up quite a stink and keep the world away from our kids. We may loose a few feathers making our territory known. Sometimes we need to protect our family from the busyness of life. It is kind of hard to be a family if we are too busy to ever be together.
Family is designed by God. Family is important enough to be protected.
So I finished my walk that day, with tired kids and with a sunburn that would keep me awake for the next three nights; but with an object lesson that seemed straight from the hand of God.
"Guard your home. It is precious."