Photo by the Pennsylvania Game Commission as it appeared in USA Today
It’s the picture that went viral during the recent snowstorms that ravaged the country. If you watched the news or you were active on social media, you probably saw the video and pictures.
Two bald eagles stoically, earnestly, and with unmatched resolve, braved the snow and cold weather to protect their nest.
Overcoming adversity they stood their post diligently despite the added hardship of several inches of snow.
You can barely see the beak of one of the eagles peaking out from under the blanket of the snow.
There are times as parents of a child with special needs where the hardships and adversity we face seem to just pile on us like snow.
Day by day, sometimes hour-by-hour, the storms of life dump more hardship on us than we feel like we can endure. We literally can feel “up to our beaks” in turmoil, trial, and adversity.
Wave after wave of “special-needs snow” falls onto our lives and blankets our nests.
What can we learn as parents from the images of the eagles protecting their nest.
#1 Protect the nests at all costs
As the parent of a child with special needs you have been called to protect your family from all threats. The greater the storms in your own life grow, the greater the opportunity for you to demonstrate your strength, determination, and perseverance. The ways you respond to your adversity will be defining moments in teaching your children how to respond to the challenges in their own lives. Your children will learn how to respond to the challenges in their lives by observing how you do the same.
#2- Nurturing the nest takes commitment
Sometimes in the harried lives we lead as special-needs parents, the emotional roller coaster we ride takes an immense toil on our resolve. We want to throw our hands in the air and scream, “I give up.” Especially when we see the same behaviors over and over with little or no progress. The eagles show us that nurturing the nest takes an “all-in” commitment to persevere and endure as we protect our nests.
We have to press on with patience and devotion keeping our “beaks” above the fray.
#3 Preserve the team
The male eagle doesn’t just rely on the female eagle to do all the nurturing. He shares in the responsibility, shares in the role, and shares in the tasks required to nurture the nest and the eggs to maturity. Even though they have different primary roles, they set those aside when necessary and work together as an organized team. The male does not leave all the nurturing to the female eagle.It takes a team!
If you are a single parent, supplement your nest with friends and other parents who have your back and will give you support.
And if you are an unengaged dad, for crying out loud, man up, and get involved! It’s a two person job.
The next time this special-needs life feels like an icy blizzard bearing down on you and your family, remember the eagles.
Protect your nest at all costs, stay committed, don’t give up, and preserve your team!