The Ducks Will Follow

Walking through my favorite local park, I stopped to watch a Mama duck cross my path with her four offspring. The waddling brood weren’t babies and they weren’t fully grown, so I immediately identified them as “teenage” ducks.

Three of them followed the Mama in a perfectly straight line, stopping when she stopped, moving forward when she did. The more independent fourth child stayed close, but tended to stop more frequently, picking at the grass. Sensing his absence, Mama would turn her neck around, waiting until 4th duck got moving again.

Unlike the Mama duck with six loud babies in the nearby pond, these 4 teenagers were quiet. Even the one who tended to wander momentarily still quietly followed. I couldn’t help but observe how obedient they all were and how they mimicked her every move. When she pulled at the grass, they pulled at the grass. When she stared at independent #4, they stared at their sibling. When she waddled forward, they did too.

Ducks and humans are too vastly different to compare, but I did it anyway that morning and two things came to mind:

     1)There were dogs and other threats throughout the park, but the teenage ducks’ obedience kept them safe. I couldn’t help but relate their actions to our teenagers’ (and our own) relationship with God. Instead of viewing the bible as full of restricting rules, we need to remind ourselves that quiet obedience keeps us safe and on the proper path.

2) Lord help us,our kids usually act and behave how we act and behave! This brought to mind a story I read a long time ago in a Beth Moore bible study (see below). It was in my workbook at the time, and it was so powerful, I cut it out and hung it in my home office. I read it every now and then, and I’m propelled into – once again – making renewed mental commitments toward being a much better example for my children.

I have a tendency to believe that peers, society, culture, television, Instagram, and The Vine all deeply influence my teenagers. The following story reminds me of how powerful I am as Mama Duck. It forces me to assess how I’m acting and behaving in my nest.

Although I read the following excerpt in one of my Beth Moore studies, the story is actually written by Gilda Radner in her book, It’s Always Something.

“When I was little, my nurse Dibby’s cousin had a dog, just a mutt, and the dog was pregnant. I don’t know how long dogs are pregnant, but she was due to have her puppies in about a week. She was out in the yard one day and got in the way of the lawn mower and her two hind legs got cut off. They rushed her to the vet and he said, ‘I can sew her up, or you can put her to sleep if you want, but the puppies are okay. She’ll be able to deliver the puppies.’ Dibby’s cousin said, ‘Keep her alive.’ So the vet sewed up her backside, and over the next week the dog learned to walk. She didn’t spend any time worrying. She just learned to walk by taking two steps in the front and flipping up her backside, and then taking two steps and flipping up her backside again. She gave birth to six little puppies, all in perfect health. She nursed them and then weaned them. And when they learned to walk, they all walked like her.”