Leadership Parenting

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Make Way For Ducklings

Friday, May 17, 2024

Written by Janet Carter

Categories: Motherhood Parent Leadership and Authority

Comments: 0

A mother duck has returned to our neighborhood for the third year in a row this spring to hatch a new family of ducklings. This weekend I was fortunate enough to observe this mother and her brood swimming in our neighborhood pool. As you might expect, this little family soon had a bevy of observers.

I watched as this Momma duck confidently led her nine new babies who swam dutifully in a line behind her, as their growing audience watched with amazement and awe. Suddenly she swam to the edge and hopped out. Obediently, the ducklings did the same. Five made it; four tried but with no success. "Awwww" went every woman on the observation deck. The mother duck, however, seemed unfazed.

She returned to the pool, and jumped in, followed by the five who made it out, the remaining four falling in line behind them. She took a loop around the pool, returned to the edge and jumped out again. And like before, the babies followed in line. This time eight made it. The last lone little duckling tried but remained in the pool. Every woman watching exclaimed, "Someone needs to help him," most moving towards the pool to do just that.

Thankfully Momma Duck intervened. Back in the pool she jumped, followed by the eight and the one who had not quite hurdled the edge. Just like before, she circled the pool, went to the edge, and jumped out. And this time, all nine made it, to the thunderous applause of their adoring audience.

Nature understands what the current parenting culture does not. That wise mother duck knew that there was only one way for her babies to get out of the pool. They had to do it on their own. She never left them, but neither did she rush in and help them. She waited confidently and patiently for all nine to do it themselves.

And here’s the real irony: In a culture whose parents are so consumed by their child’s self-esteem, these same parents are quick to rush in and explain, demonstrate, teach, tutor, and help – instead of just standing patiently and confidently by as their babies figure it out themselves. With the very best of intentions, they are quick to brand their duckling as the one who couldn’t do it on his own.

If only I had had my camera with me.

Janet Carter
Leadership Parenting Coach

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