There was an eagle that fell off its nest, as a baby. A farmer came along the tracks and, seeing the plight that the baby eagle was feeling, he picked it up and took it to the farm. The eagle grew up doing what chickens do, living like a chicken, and believing he was a chicken. A naturalist came to the chicken farm to see if what he had heard about an eagle acting like a chicken was really true. He knew that an eagle is king of the sky. He was surprised to see the eagle strutting around the chicken coop, pecking at the ground, and acting very much like a chicken. The farmer explained to the naturalist that this bird was no longer an eagle. He was now a chicken because he had been trained to be a chicken and he believed that he was a chicken. The naturalist knew there was more to this great bird than his actions showed as he “pretended” to be a chicken. He was born an eagle and had the heart of an eagle, and nothing could change that. The man lifted the eagle onto the fence surrounding the chicken coop and said, “Eagle, you are an eagle. Stretch forth thy wings and fly.” The eagle moved slightly, only to look at the man; then he glanced down at his home among the chickens in the chicken coop where he was comfortable. He jumped off the fence and continued doing what chickens do. The farmer was satisfied. “I told you it was a chicken,” he said.
The naturalist returned the next day and tried again to convince the farmer and the eagle that the eagle was born for something greater. He took the eagle to the top of the farmhouse and spoke to him: “Eagle, you are an eagle. You belong to the sky and not to the earth. Stretch forth thy wings and fly.” The large bird looked at the man, then again down into the chicken coop. He jumped from the man’s arm onto the roof of the farmhouse. Knowing what eagles are really about, the naturalist asked the farmer to let him try one more time. He would return the next day and prove that this bird was an eagle. The farmer, convinced otherwise, said, “It is a chicken.” The naturalist returned the next morning to the chicken farm and took the eagle and the farmer some distance away to the foot of a high mountain. They could not see the farm nor the chicken coop from this new setting. The man held the eagle on his arm and pointed high into the sky where the bright sun was beckoning above. He spoke: “Eagle, you are an eagle! You belong to the sky and not to the earth. Stretch forth thy wings and fly.” This time the eagle stared skyward into the bright sun, straightened his large body, and stretched his massive wings. His wings moved, slowly at first, then surely and powerfully. With the mighty screech of an eagle, he flew.
What does this story mean in a human context? Why is it so pertinent to the discussion of parenting? The lesson is simple. A child’ environment and upbringing will invariably play an enormous role in how they turn out in life. It is important to instil a fearless and exploratory character in your child, so they do not turn into an eagle living among a world of hens. A child learns from observing more than anything else. The best course of options would be to lead them and to open their horizons up. One way to do this is to connect them with other industry professionals that are willing to guide your child on their journey. Career mentoring is a tried and tested method that greatly enhances the career awareness and more importantly, preparedness when they step into the world of work. Even in this story, it was the naturalist that provided a fresh perspective and guided the eagle onto the right track.
To an extent, mentoring can even be done by a parent, but the more positive influences the child has in their life, the better. It is important to have someone that is an established professional that helps chart out a life path for your child.