As I mentioned earlier this week, I get distracted easily. So, I occasionally check in on the Eagle Cam set up to broadcast live online from Decorah, IA. I’ve learned a lot from watching this little family. The other day, this is what I saw:
This is what most of us have seen, most of the time. I think that’s Mama Eagle, and although I am not sure when this was taken, there’s a good chance that there’s either eggs or eaglets under her.
I watched her for a couple of minutes. She didn’t do much, and I didn’t see any eaglets. I could hear other birds, water rushing. I could see that there is still a dead rabbit (ick) lying across the nest. Sure, her eyes dart everywhere, ever vigilant, but she’s just really just sitting there, incubating. But then I realized that she was showing us (me) something so important that it gave me pause.
She was just doing what she was supposed to be doing, and no more.
I realized then how many things I attempt to do at any given time. My quest for efficiency never ends, and my tasks often outweigh their importance. I don’t often just sit in my nest, taking care of my family; that feels like I am being idle. I have to push, accomplish, sew up loose ends, learn, grow, tidy, wash…I’m getting anxious just listing all that stuff. Granted, the eagle and I live in completely different circumstances, but it would be awfully nice if I could just remember to be like her and concentrate on one thing at a time. How much better my life, relationships, productivity, quality of work, would be.
Less than a year ago, I was trying to cram (for the umpteenth time) a whole bunch of things into the last few months of school. My students even started to mention to me that it felt like we were rushing (because we were). It made me stop for a minute, and recognize that the pacing of school and the ever-present ticking of the clock are not in the best interests of students and teachers. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could teach less, better? Wouldn’t it be great if we could pause and celebrate the epiphanies and conflicts and understand that education should not simply be a conveyor belt, but an incubator of sorts? Wouldn’t it be amazing and nurturing to be in the nest for as long as we needed to be to thrive and discover each person’s potential?
I knew eagles were smart, but I didn’t think they knew something I didn’t.