Parenting: This spring a LOT of baby squirrels were born in our neighbor. In the hundred-year-old tree in our neighbors’ yard was one such family. One day, we heard that distinctive yelling that squirrels make. Sometimes they yell at the dog for chasing them up in a tree. But this time, the sound was coming from the side of the house. On the stucco of the house, 2 stories up, we could see a baby squirrel and its momma. The momma was yelling while the little one clung to the stucco, looking at how far it was to the safety of the ground. The momma chirped and demonstrated. “You go like this,” she seemed to say. She moved at a diagonal toward the shelf of a windowsill. Then she made another diagonal toward the roof over the back door. From there she scampered part way down and jumped across a four-foot gap to land on a fence that led directly to their home tree.
She returned to the little one’s side and chirped away. “You saw me do it. Now it is your turn.” It took all day and lots of nagging/coaxing/demonstrating. But the baby squirrel eventually got back home.
It reminded me that our children NEED to be trained. Don’t buy into the silly notion that children simply unfold like a flower, needing no direction. Our children absolutely need to be trained, formed, coaxed and prodded. They need a good example to follow. They need to know the truth about life and how to survive in this world and head for ETERNITY. Even the squirrels know this!
A college professor was just lamenting that she sees young people who aren’t just “poorly trained and ill-mannered” but “untrained.” They don’t seem to know what proper behavior in — in a classroom, on social media or in life. No manners. No work ethic. No ability to engage in conversation if there is a conflict. That is truly sad. Parents: we have a job to do and it is so very important.
Survival: Our neighbors put up a fence and a bush my mom planted over 25 years ago had to be removed because it was on the fence line. So, the roots and all were dug up. The thing weighed many pounds so it was deposited on a square of concrete in our yard. There it sat for the winter. Five months later it began to come alive again! It was determined to live. But the bush was too big for us to handle and to replant as it was. So, my son took a chain saw to it and cut it in half! Then he stuck one half in the ground and the other half was hauled out toward the garbage can. Within two weeks, the re-planted, highly traumatized bush was green and growing. And the half bush sitting next to the garbage can was picked up by someone who wanted to give it a new home!
I guess if an old bush can keep on going through all of that, we should be able to keep on going no matter what life throws at us!
Transformation: A little boy across the street brought my 93-year-old mom a caterpillar to raise! What an amazing little creature it is! For three and a half days the creature ate without stopping. It paused only if we touched the glass jar. And when I took it out to clean up it’s little messes, the caterpillar remained quiet. After it devoured 4 ½ milkweed leaves, the caterpillar crawled up the side of the jar. It slowed down and began to send out white wisps of thread. Slowly it began to let go of the safety of holding on. It looked as if it was in pain. It moved so slowly and hesitantly — a contrast from when it ate and ate. I wondered if it was indeed a painful step. It was letting go of life as it knew life. Overnight, it was transformed into a pretty green chrysalis. Within the next ten days if all goes well, it will transform again into a monarch butterfly.
The process of watching this happen has been wonderful for us two aging women — my mom and me. Mom’s been reading up on heaven in preparation for what it’s like to have a monarch-like existence.
Heaven: That’s that final stage of life, as long as everything that has come before the chrysalis stage has been a faithful response to God’s gifts and life’s challenges.
Copyright 2018 Judith Costello
About the author: Judith Costello, MA, OCDS, is an artist and writer. She is the founder of Unwind Studio: Where Art Relieves Stress. She shows her artwork under the name “Lady in the Sky Studio.” She has written over 65 craft columns for New Mexico Kids magazine complete with How To illustrations and photos. Judith has two books available: How to Pray Like the Saints and Mariology: To Mary, Our Morning Star.