Sunday, July 6, 2014

The Unlovable Crow


From my Lazy Boy in the living room, through my screen door, I can see our little garden area now flourishing with red roses and promising brilliant lavender. In the middle I have placed a black bird bath about two feet tall. I bought it because I envisioned a hundred colorful and happily chirping little visitors a day, taking a splash and putting on a concert for us. But they never came because two darned crows won’t let them near the bath. “This is our birdbath,” they must have announced. Yet they don’t take baths at all. They just haughtily sit on the rim and, working together like a prison guard duo, they protect their bath.


Just a few minutes ago, they both made a landing and started their guarding. After a minute or so, both began to drink. Unlike a horse, a crow cannot dip his beak in water and draw the liquid into his stomach. He fills his beak, lifts his head and points his beak to the sky, and then allows the water to fall down his throat. It’s a two-step process. As I watched them drink, I thought, ‘Those dirty little jerks. Other birds are thirsty. They are nothing but rude and mean bullies, keeping the pretty birds away and hoarding all the water.’


And about one month ago, those two varmints attacked a squirrel as it crossed our street. You’re not going to believe this; one was pecking at its head while the other was pulling its tail. The little fellow was fully alive and trying to get away.


If teachers are not careful, they can look at their students the same way. There are students who are easy to like and then there are those who are very difficult to like, and sometimes we even dislike one or two of them. But that’s Okay.

“What did you say?” You ask. “Did you say it’s Okay to dislike your students?” Yes. It’s natural to like some people and not like others. Some students are just plain likeable while others just are not. But while it’s alright to have various degrees of “like,” we must love all of them. My college coach, John Wooden, told me, “I didn’t like all of you the same but I hope I loved you the same.”


So there were the two crows, guarding, drinking, guarding drinking, and I’m sure the beautiful fine-colored finches were in the maple trees, waiting for them to leave so they could get a drink of cool water and perhaps take a little splash. But no!


It’s a hot day here in Washington, believe it or not, and birds are thirsty, even crows. As I saw them drink, all of a sudden, instead of scoundrels, I saw them as helpless animals who needed to hydrate to stay alive. And, while before I have cursed them through my screen door, I cared for them from my heart. They are birds who need water, and no matter how cocky and downright unlikeable they can be, I was glad to share water with them and to help them along.


The subject of this posting is teaching. I think you get the point.


A bell isn’t a bell until you ring it.

A song isn’t a song until you sing it.

And the love that is in us wasn’t put there to stay;

Love isn’t love until you give it away.




Swen Nater


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