All I do is sit and watch. Watch and sit. Laugh quietly. Sit some more.
I watch the finches outside my kitchen window as they learn to get along, as they move and jockey to take a place on the great-finch-stairsteps to Super Finch.
On many mornings you will find me writing in my notebook and looking out my window. The house is usually quiet so I can sit at the table, drink coffee and splash words on the page as recklessly as I feel called.
This morning, Samuel came alongside me as I wrote. “The birdfeeder is empty,” I said to him, “so not very many finches.” The words flew from my mouth and I realized it was a very stupid sentence to speak. The good part of it was this: it got me moving.
I went to the cabinet and scooped some lovingly mixed bird seed into a large drink cup, went outside and poured it into the feeder. By the time I got back to my seat and my notebook, the finches were feasting away.
The biggest finch – I called him Father Finch for Samuel – stood for a while at the top of the bird feeder. He seemed to be calling the other finches to come eat. He was notably larger than the males eating the seeds below. Once two birds were happily eating there, a third would flutter in. He or she would either chase off a bird or be chased him or herself.
Samuel and I laughed and giggled, covering our mouths so the birds wouldn’t be frightened away.
At one point, all the birds left suddenly. My guess is one of the neighborhood cats came prowling. This is another lesson FatherFinch needs to teach the little ones.
I am sure there are interesting lessons to be learned from your kitchen window as well.
My top three take-aways from looking out my window include:
- 1. The power of leading but not spoon-feeding. Helicopter parenting or supervising teaches children and those we are training they are not capable. Giving instruction, modeling and then giving space for others to achieve both successes and not so successful attempts teaches so much more than us leaping in “to help them get it right.”
- 2. It helps to have someone have the sole job of leader and look out. Yes, there are times for being a daredevil but more often than not, there are times of being conscious as well. Having a look out – someone whose primary duty is to be alert and conscious on behalf of the community – is a benefit for all.
- 3. Clever is more valuable than big or fast or strong. Growing “clever” skills will help anyone of any size succeed. Most of all, coming alongside others and sharing strengths is for the greatest good of everyone, even the people watching from their kitchen window.
And Now You: Look out your kitchen – or any favored window – of your home today. Watch what happens there with curiosity. What do you see? Repeat for several days and let me know what lessons YOU are learning from looking consciously out your kitchen window.
It is the best science - and life!- class I can imagine right now.
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