I write about what you---
women, wives and moms---
about your family, faith and future.
I write about what's hard, what helps and what heals.
I show you how it's done. And not done.
I hold your hand as you find what matters to the Savior.
And let go of those things that mattered to you, but not to Him.
I write about what Him.
               Sonya Contreras

Wings To Soar

We have a hawk’s nest on our property. Every year one pair returns to the nest to raise their young.

To look at the nest, you wouldn’t think it’s the safest thing. Sticks spill out all over it, as it sits high in the tree. From the ground, it looks like a mess that keeps getting bigger each year.
A small bird has built a nest in the lower part of its “mess.” Not a safe place, from my way of thinking.

Every year we watch—not so much the chicks, because we can’t see them, but when they get old enough, the fledgling stretch their scrawny necks for food, then as they hop, first on the edge of the nest then to the nearest branch.
I watch—knowing it’s a looong drop to the ground—as they practice flapping and do more jump-hopping than flying.

Were the parents cruel to build the nest so high?
Without the elevation, it would continue flop-hopping on the lower branches, and not strengthen its wings to soar.
But they soon are fluttering to a branch above them (not many branches are available above them.)

I lose track of them for a few days, and when I next see them, they are flapping by the pond.
Startled by my presence, they take shelter in a nearby tree, camouflaged in its foliage.
Later I hear them, crying out their identifying song. When I finally see them, they are circling high above the trees. They’ve learned to soar.
The awkward fledging is gone. Their feeble flapping attempts have gained mastery.

Another day, I see one flop-hopping on the pond’s shore and wonder if something went wrong. But then it flies to a nearby tree without difficulty.
Was it eating frogs?

A few brief weeks of training, of practice, of reaching maturity. Then another brood reaches maturity, where they will be driven away from their parents’ territory to stake their own claim, build their own nest, and find their own way.

As I drive, I’ll see one dive. I wait—wondering what it’s after, until it lifts up with graceful wings, holding a snake. Was it from “our” nest?
And me, I wait for next spring when I’ll watch another batch of young.

Our Lesson?
We do what is best for our young, not what looks good to others.
No growth takes place without risks and “unsafeness.”
Stretch your neck to the offered food. But don’t stay there, even if you have to eat frogs.
Flap-hopping is better than staying in the nest, because it leads to soaring.
Sing like you were made to do. (Even if it’s a croak or a chirp.)
Don’t stay immature because it’s safe. Move onto your own territory. Build your nest. Raise your young.
And soar like you were made to do.

What is your greatest obstacle in helping your young to soar?

This is one of those lessons that a mother has to learn so not to hamper their children growing and learning and flying. It's such a blessing to see our children doing this with their children, having learned the lesson well. Thanks for the article, really enjoyed it.

Getting out of the way.

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Author of Biblical fiction, married to my best friend, and challenged by eight sons’ growing pains as I write about what matters.

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Tell of My Kingdom's Glory
Three Book Series