Jan 27, 2012

A Parable

There was once an elderly man who loved bird-watching. He knew every bird he happened upon, and he had an ongoing checklist of birds he wanted to see before he died. He never went anywhere without his binoculars, bird-watching field-guide, and a meticulous itinerary of birds he wanted to see. He was a member of a local birdwatching club, as well as a national association of bird-watchers. He went to conventions. He started sticky-threads on bird-watching forums.

One day, the man wanted to take his 8-year-old grandson out into the field with him. He longed to share his experience with his grandson, hoping his grandson would enjoy it. Also, he hoped to spot one of the seasonal species and he had read about being seen recently in this area.

While carousing the field with his grandson, the man went on and on about his knowledge of birds, talking about all the birds he had seen in his life, what kind of birds they can expect to see today, and what times of the year are best to see particular species of birds. But as the minutes turned into ours, the man secretly became frustrated at his lack of a sighting.

Then the boy said, "Look Grandpa, there's a bird!" as he pointed up towards the top of a tree.

"Oh, that's just a crow," said the man. "That doesn't really count as a bird sighting. They're much too common."

"Well," said the boy, "I think its beautiful."

The man stood stunned at what his boy had just said.

After a minute of silence as they both stood watching the crow, the boy said, "Thanks for taking me bird-watching, Grandpa."

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