A naturalist was visiting a farmer one day and was surprised
to see a beautiful eagle in the farmerís chicken coop. "Why in the
world,asked the naturalist, have you got this eagle living in with
"Well, answered the farmer, I found him when he was little and
raised him in there with the chickens. He doesnít know any better,
he thinks he is a chicken." The naturalist was dumbfounded. The eagle
was pecking the grain and drinking from the watering can. The
eagle kept his eyes on the ground and strutted around in circles,
looking every inch a big, over-sized chicken. "Doesnít he ever try
to spread his wings and fly out of there?" asked the naturalist.
"No, said the farmer, and I doubt he ever will, he doesnít know
what it means to fly."
"Well, said the naturalist, "let me take him out and do a few
experiments with him." The farmer agrees, but assured the naturalist
that he was wasting his time. The naturalist lifted the bird to the
top of the chicken coop fence and said "Fly!" He pushed the reluctant
bird off the fence and it fell to the ground in a pile of dusty
feathers. Next, the undaunted researcher took the ruffled chicken/eagle
to the farmerís hay loft and spread itís wings before tossing it high
in the air with the command "FLY!" The frightened bird shrieked and
fell ungraciously to the barn-yard where it resumed pecking the ground
in search of itís dinner. The naturalist again picked up the eagle and
decided to give it one more chance in a more appropriate environment,
away from the bad examples of chicken lifestyle. He set the docile bird
on the front seat of his pickup truck next to him and headed for the
highest butte in the country. After a lengthy and sweaty climb to the
crest of the butte with the bird tucked under his arm, he spoke gently
to the goldenbird. "Friend, he said, you were born to soar. It is
better that you die here today on the
rocks below than live the rest of your life being a chicken in a pen,
gawked at and out of your element." Having said these final words, he
lifted the eagle up and once more commanded it to "FLY!" He tossed it
out in space and this time, much to his relief, it opened itís
seven-foot wingspan and flew gracefully into the sky. It slowly
climbed in ever higher spirals, riding unseen thermals of hot air
until it disappeared into the glare of the morning sun. The naturalist
smiled and thought how happy he was with his days work. Like the eagle,
he had for many years, let other people define his worth and direct
his life for him. Like the eagle, it had taken a life and death
situation for him to realize his self worth and real calling in life.
It took courage to change occupations in mid-life and face the
disappointments of those who believed he couldnít possibly leave his
accounting firm and be successful
in the physically challenging occupation of a park ranger. But, just
like the eagle, he had risen out of the abyss of self-doubt and
stretched his soul toward new horizons.
"Actually, mused the naturalist, I never doubted that beautiful bird -
If I could do it, I knew he could too!"
The moral of the story, of course, is to not let other people
define our self-worth or keep us under their limiting and oppressive
influence. -Anonymously written. Edited and revised by
Ed. Note: None of us want to find ourselves in this poor eagles
predicament, but due to one reason or another, many of us fall through
the cracks of life. Lacking a dream or
a goal of self-actualization we wake up one day to find ourselves in a
chicken pen surrounded with unsupportive and uncaring friends whoís
only aim in life is finding the next juicy morsel to consume. Sometimes
we are blinded by our companionís choices. The material morsels they
choose to peck away at throughout life may be quite impressive and
spectacular. They may include lavish homes, boats, vehicles, and
other showy prestige symbols or they may seek more subtle morsels such
as the honors of their peers or even the whole world for their good
works and charity.
What type of chicken feed we chose for ourselves doesnít really
matter for it will never make us truly happy or allow us to soar on
wings of eagles.
We are all children of God with unimaginable potential. Heavenly
Father knows our potential, for it is He that has given us our
individual missions and the gifts needed to accomplish them. If we
first seek the kingdom of God we are promised that all things shall be
added. Therefore, it is our first responsibility to discover why we
are here on earth and our ecological niche or place in which we were
meant to soar.
Instead of gathering chicken feed in the form of material goods or
the praise of men,
perhaps we should stop walking in circles,look up from the watering can,
and dare to
dream and make our dreams come true. In the Book of Isaiah Ch. 41
vs. 30 & 31 the Lord says to man: Even the youths shall faint and
be weary, and the young men utterly fail: But they that wait upon
the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings
as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and
In these last days of disease, plague, chronic illness, fatigue,
stress, bankruptcy, rootlessness, family disintegration or dysfunction,
this promise that we might mount up like eagles should become more and
more attractive to humanity, but like the eagle in the chicken pen,
surrounded by companions with downcast eyes, most people lack the
desire to discover their God-given abilities and talents.
Instead of exerting the least bit of faith to look up to their
Creator, to learn and conform themselves to His laws, to experiment
upon His promises, they would rather resign themselves to a
miserable existence of eternal pecking at the chicken feed of life:
Fame, a better car, a bigger house, a little more acknowledgment, a
little more acceptance among their peers, at least a pat on the back
for a job well done, another raise, cash benefit, church calling or
To a kind, wise Heavenly Father our never ending needs for better,
improved chicken feed must seem like a childís list addressed to Santa
As the eagle needed to be removed from the influence of his
chicken companions, to look to the sky and his inner abilities in order
to soar, so we, too, need to disregard the damaging or limiting
influence of others, look up to our Creator and seek His counsel in our
individual lives to become all that we were meant to be.
Most adults want to see our children and the youth we care about
fulfill their potential and soar on wings of spiritual accomplishment.
Many of us become frustrated and angry when they reject the high road
and head out with others who appear to have lower standards.
There will always be strong willed spirits who reject all forms of
direction, even to their own
detriment, but it is especially painful for us to stand by helplessly
and watch our loved ones settle for chicken feed.
But what examples are we setting for those who will follow us? Are
we truly happy with our own path in life? Do we ourselves soar with the
eagles or our hearts set on the things of this world, the chicken feed,
so to speak.
Like the naturalist who knew instinctively how to help the eagle,
because he had lived a similar dismal life, we too, must first look to
our own souls and find the true joy that is a sign that follows those
who have attained spiritual enlightenment before we attempt to save
others from themselves. As we, ourselves, soar on wings of eagles,
our example will help those we love more than we can begin to imagine.