I have a lawn mowing buddy.
He's a mockingbird. Smartest mockingbird I know.
He shows up every time he hears the mower start up.
See, he's figured something out. He knows that as I mow all the bugs hop out of the way. Bugs that taste good to him. Dinner appears right before his eyes without any work on his part.
He's getting braver. He get's pretty close to me and the mower. A little too close for my comfort sometimes.
This morning as I was mowing and he was eating, I thought about my girls and when they first came.
They too were good at spotting opportunities. They too were good at seizing them. Only not all opportunities are good or helpful or worthwhile.
One of my biggest hurdles as a mom was teaching my girls to think about decisions before making them.
I don't know if you've ever raised an impulsive child. I have. Three of them. It's tough, especially in the beginning.
If they want it, they take it. Even if it doesn't belong to them. Even if we haven't paid for it. Even if it's something special to someone else.
Opportunity knocked and they answered. Only I wish they hadn't.
Because now we have to return the toy and apologize to the store or the friend.
Because now we have to figure out what you just ate that didn't belong to us. And where in the world did you get it? This place doesn't even sell food.
It wears me out, this eagle eye I have to keep on her at all times.
But it's worth it. Over time things change. The four thousand times we've talked about taking things that don't belong to us is starting to make an impact. A small one, but it will grow.
One day she'll be more like my friend the mockingbird. Lots of bugs jump out of the path of the mower but I watch as he patiently waits for his favorites. He doesn't eat all of them, rather he selects the ones he likes best.
She'll learn how to do that. She'll realize that she gets so much more if she's willing to wait for what was intended for her, for what was planned just for her.
One day she'll be able to evaluate the opportunities that come her way. She'll determine which ones are right and helpful and worthwhile.
Until then I'll help her. I'll walk her through the decision making process. I'll add my input when I see her jumping at something that isn't for the best. I'll help her to learn not to be so impulsive.
And in the meantime, I'll watch my friend the mockingbird.