Engineers, Builders and Predators!!

Here is a link to a short video you should watch before you read the blog: https://youtu.be/mEEUU_JOtPU

That was a tragic end to a story that started out with so much promise and joy. Not sure what the bird couple felt and went through!!

That apart, the birds taught me much. They went about the whole exercise of nest building and nesting with single minded purpose and focus.

They scouted for a suitable place to build their nest. Once they decided on the tree, they took almost a day to choose a suitable spot in the tree. I do believe they took into consideration the elements of nature — rain, wind and sunlight. After the thunderstorms, there was no rain water in the nest, but there was warmth of the sun particularly at certain times of the day.

These birds were engineers and builders. Amazing architecture with ordinary material that their keen eyes found around — talk about sustainable living and they proved it.

The values they lived were exemplary. Communication and how they communicated! Whistling, talking, and chattering to each other. There was no gender discrimination in the allotment of work — they shared and shared alike including the incubation of the eggs. The other values I witnessed were patience — immense patience while weaving and building the nest and incubating the eggs — determination to get the job done, aesthetics in the nest design, acceptance of an ugly fledgling and possibly the loss of the baby. The one thing they probably did not account for was the unexpected predator that came on soft footed feet, stealthily under cover of the darkness.

We can now draw a parallel to us human beings.

Let us start with a couple in an arranged or love marriage. They start off life with stars in the eyes and great hope that they are going to build a strong, loving home and family. Purpose and focus is discussed and communicated. And brick by brick the home is built. Some of these homes and families endure and sustain as they are built on a foundation of strong values.

  • Love — genuine love and respect
  • Communication at a deep and feeling level
  • Faith in God and each other
  • Empathy, acceptance, patience, perseverance, discipline, gentleness, kindness, compassion as a way of life
  • Laughter and humour
  • Work culture, where everyone shares in the work, — and so much more that is special to each family.

Why then do some families fall through the cracks?

Well, there are probably different kinds of predators at large, some worse than the others that affect families in different ways.

  • A roving eye with all its accessories and manipulations.
  • A value system that could be at cross purposes with the values of the spouse and in-laws.
  • Poor financial management — financial burdens and an inability to live within ones means. During this pandemic, this has been one of the major predators — loss of job, reduction of salaries, and lack of an emergency fund.
  • Poor communication and excessive control, causing fear.
  • Mental health issues.
  • Materialistic values at the cost of all other values like social and moral values.
  • Addictions of different kinds
  • Domestic abuse

I suppose each family is faced with their own predators that are consequences of one’s own behaviour. It could also be the challenges life throws at us.

I would like to spend some time on the Tweens and Adolescents who can be very vulnerable to predators. However, there are adolescents who have the courage, conviction and a strong value system to say ‘No’, stand strong and keep the predators at bay.

The Tweens and Adolescents are in search of who they are — their identity. They are often confused with the labels that are attached to them. Good girl / boy, bright, intelligent, helpful — yes, positive labels but labels nevertheless, that can put a lot of pressure on them. And then we have the negative ones — bad boy /girl, fat, ugly, a dunce.

All of us and our children think the label is their identity. We often forget to separate the person from the behavior leading to confusion in understanding ‘Who am I’?

The big predator is negative peer pressure which is verbal in nature and strikes at the very core of the person. E.g. Sissy, mamma’s boy, nerd etc. The easiest way to get the predator off my back is to succumb and do what I am pressured to do. It could be substance abuse, starting with smoking which is the gateway to other substances. Alcohol has social acceptance and is available in almost every home, watching pornography, cyber bullying, risk activities and so many more.

All of this because the young person is so very needy for friends, that they will do anything to be accepted.

Just a question — Do adults (of any age) face peer pressure? Think about it.

So we have one more predator at the door of the family — children who go down the wrong path can shake the foundation of a home causing great pain.

Through my years of counselling, I have found that families that have time for each other, communicate without judgement and expectations, eat and pray together, live and practice their values are less likely to fall apart.

So let not the wolf say, ‘I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow your house down.’

For after all as someone has said, ‘A happy family is but an earlier heaven’.

Educational Consultant with 2 passions in life: the Child — from toddler to adolescent, and Education — education philosophy and psychology