The Lopsided Bird Feeder
With super glue and duct tape, I patched the bird feeder back together for what I hoped might be at least one more season of usefulness. And, doubting that the many varieties of birds that call our wooded lot their home would be concerned about their lopsided feeding station, I was indeed hopeful. The young bear who had nearly demolished the feeder a few nights before my attempted repairs had not returned. That gave me a feeling of some optimism about the future of my once mechanically proficient, symmetrical and well structured bird feeder.
Alas, it was not to be. The feeder, too lopsided to work, simply spilled the seeds onto the ground, much to the delight of the squirrels and chipmunks who scurried happily to the feast.
So now, the lopsided feeder is gone and a new one has taken its place.
But what abut the “lopsided children?” You know, the children who through no fault of their own are beaten down by the despair, poverty, anger, alcohol and drug abuse and the unknowing or uncaring persons who ushered them into a world filled with risk? What are their chances of moving away from endless generations of a downward spiral? Or will they too, end up, discarded and forgotten?
As bleak as the words may sound, they do not necessarily predict a dark or hopeless future. In recent times, a great deal has been learned about children’s development, especially their earliest years. Research into early brain development reaffirms the human capacity for resiliency while also pinpointing our vulnerabilities to environments that deprive rather than nourish. The balance between these two – resiliency and vulnerability – are greatly influenced by what happens in the first three years of life. This is where the challenge to all of us seeking to avoid “lopsided children” lies. For too many years we have tended to neglect the importance of placing the maximum of our resources – our human capital and fiscal strength – where it can be most effective. Now is the time to correct that notion. We must insist that early childhood education and enriched day care programs for all those who need them becomes a priority. Every child should have equal access to the highest quality of health care and preventative services and every parent should be given the information and encouragement they need to raise their child to be healthy, resilient and happy about all their tomorrows.
I suspect that would be a beginning towards bringing all the “lopsided children” back to where they belong; not discarded because they have no use.