Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Empty Nest

By Cecil May III

A robin built a nest and laid some eggs in our willow tree. Her nest was low to the ground which made it very convenient for us to observe. In fact, we made a picture every day of the progress of the hatching and growth of her chicks. We started with pictures of eggs. We documented the birds hatching. We saw them grow from ugly, naked, pink creatures into fullfeathered birds that filled up the nest.

This morning I went out to take my bird picture of the day. All I found was an empty nest. Although I knew this day was coming, somehow I was surprised when it actually occurred. I was also sad, an emotion that I had not anticipated at all.

Drs. Cloud and Townsend have a chapter on parenting in their book, God Will Make a Way: What to do when you don’t know what to do. They note that the parent/child relationship is unique in that every other relationship (marriage, friends, etc.) the goal is to deepen the relationship connection, while in this one relationship the goal is separation. This is the God-ordained path for the parent/child relationship. Genesis 1:26 presents the “leave and cleave” law of the parental experience.

Hear Drs. Cloud and Townsend on the subject:

Some parents have a very hard time with this, because they do not want to experience the pain of their child’s leaving them and they unknowingly resist helping their kids grow up so that they will always be dependent and nearby. Some parents blame their child, causing him or her to feel guilty and conflicted about leaving the nest. Others withdraw emotionally, so as not to feel the pain, which then communicates to the child that he or she is hurting them by following God’s path. We hope that you can accept the reality of your children’s goals and destiny, feel all the love and sadness you have for each one, and help each one leave successfully and well, with all your support and help.

I felt sorrow when I discovered that empty nest this morning. I looked around for young birds on the ground and saw nothing. I guess they are flying high somewhere, exploring the sky and the tops of the trees.

- Cecil May III; via The Family Friend, a monthly newsletter published by the Calvert City church of Christ, Calvert City, KY. It is an excellent resource for articles relating to the family. To learn more consult the congregation's website:

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