Let’s talk crows, ravens, hope and, of course, fathers.
Just an fyi. Crows and ravens are in the same genus but are different birds <the best example I found was … think of leopards and tiger, both are in the same genus and are obviously related, but they are quite distinct animals>.
In general, the biggest black species, usually with shaggy throat feathers, are called ravens and the smaller species are considered crows. To finish the initial link to relevancy … both crows & ravens can be fathers … and I assume in the bird world … despite their blackness typically being seen as harbingers of death … they are hopeful birds.
Second. Crows & hope.
“Crows. Crows mate for life and are known to raise their young for as long as 5 years. Sometimes you don’t get that long. Life sometimes doesn’t turn out the way you hope. Maybe it never does. But you always hope it does. It is that hope you always hold on to at major life changing events in your own life … and particularly the lives of your children. You keep going, and you hope for the best, and sometimes, maybe not very often, your hopes come true.” – Craig Johnson <author>
Time and parenting is a love/hate relationship. Ok. Its a love relationship. But with some moments you hate.
A father recognizes that time seems to go quickly … and always hopes there is enough time … and hates that Life rarely does give it.
Sure … Life rarely turns out the way we hope. Fathers? They just keep going … hoping for the best … and sometimes their hopes come true … at least for their children.
But the bottom line?
Fathers keep going.
And rarely do they keep going for themselves <despite what Maslow may suggest> but rather their internal engine is hope … hope for the best for their children. Hope they will be better than they are. Hope that they have enough time.
Crow don’t have anything on fathers … but they sure understand fathers.
Third. Ravens & hope.
“Some people believe that ravens guide travelers to their destinations. Others believe that the sight of a solitary raven is considered good luck, but a group of ravens predicts trouble ahead. And a raven right before battle promises victory.” – Lucas Scott <the games that play us>
There are no promises in life <even if you do actually see a raven before battle> … but there is always hope. And, in fact, in Indian lore … the raven brought light to the world.
- How Raven Brought Light To The World <American Indian lore>
Long ago when the world was young, the earth and all living creatures were shrouded in the darkness. It was said that a great chief was keeping all the light for himself, but no one was certain, for the light was so carefully hidden that no one had ever actually seen it. The chief knew that his people were suffering, but he was a selfish man and did not care.
Raven was sad for his people, for he knew that without light the earth would not bring forth the food the people needed to survive. Raven decided to rescue the light. He knew that the way to the chief’s village was very long. When Raven arrived, he said to himself, “I must find a way to live the in the chief’s house and capture the light.”
So Raven transformed himself into a seed and floated on the surface of the nearby stream. When the chief’s daughter came to draw water, Raven was ready. No matter how she tried to drink some of the water, the seed was always in her way. Finally, she tired of trying to remove it, and she drank it along with the water.
The woman became pregnant, and in time she gave birth to a son, who was Raven in disguise. The chief loved his grandson, and whatever the child wanted, his grandfather gave him.
As the boy crawled, he noticed many bags hanging on the walls of the lodge. One by one he pointed to them, and one by one his grandfather gave them to him. Finally his grandfather gave him the bag that was filled with stars, and the bag that contained the moon. The child rolled the bags around on the floor of the lodge, then suddenly let go of them. The bags immediately rose to the ceiling, drifted through the smoke hole, and flew up into the heavens. There they burst open, spilling the stars and the moon into the sky.
The boy continued to play with bag after bag and box after box until one day he pointed to the last box left in the lodge. His grandfather took him upon his lap and said, “When I open this box, I am giving you the last and dearest of my possessions, the sun. Please take care of it!”
Then the chief closed the smoke hole and picked up the large wooden box he had hidden among other boxes in the shadows of one corner of the lodge. As soon as the chief removed the sun from this box, his lodging was flooded with a brilliant light.
The child laughed with delight as his grandfather gave him the fiery ball to play with. He rolled the sun around the floor of the lodging until he tired of the game and pushed it aside. His grandfather then replaced the sun in its box.
Day after day Raven and his grandfather repeated this process. Raven would point to the sun’s box, play with it until he tired of it, and then watch as his grandfather put the fiery ball away.
Finally the day came when the chief was not as careful as usual. He forgot to close the smoke hole, and he no longer watched Raven play with the fiery ball. The child resumed his Raven shape, grasped the ball of light in his claws, and flew up through the smoke hole into the sky, traveling in the direction of the river.
Raven spied people fishing in the dark. He said to them, “if you will give me some fish, I will give you some light.” At first they did not believe him. However, when Raven raised his wing and showed them enough light for them to fish with ease, they gave him part of their catch. When he had his fill of fish he lifted his wing, grabbed the sun with both claws and tossed it high into the sky. “Now my people will have light both day and night!” he exclaimed. And from that day forward, the people no longer lived in darkness.
I will explain why when I read this story I thought of fathers <and hope>.
Fathers really are like ravens … and the father figure in the story <and the quote>. Like ravens they guide people to their destination.And fathers, whether they realize it or not, are light bringers. They tend to insure there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.
Oh. Like the grandfather of the raven in the story <despite his own flaws> they want their child to be better, do better, than they are. Fathers show the way … the hope … for something more.
At some point a father has to let their child fly. You can prepare them the best that you can … but they gotta fly on their own. And you hope that they make good decisions.
But the biggest hope of all?
They do something good & meaningful.
And you know what else? A father wants their children to be better than they were.
The raven did what his father <grandfather> either could not envision or was simply not capable of doing … and he gave the world light.
Trust me on this.
The grandfather/father in this story did not despair the child stole the box … he rejoiced the son did something he didn’t do … gave the world light.
Who wouldn’t be proud?
Fourth. Fathers & hope.
After having used a literary quote and an Indian folk story … here is some serious information and thoughts on fathers. Some research.
A study last year published in the Journal of Early Adolescence found that dads are in a unique position to instill persistence and hope in their children, particularly in the pre-teen and teen years.
Researchers from Brigham Young University analyzed fathers responses to questionnaires regarding their parenting style, and children ages 11 to 14 responded to questions about school performance and attaining goals. Fathers who practiced authoritative parenting, defined as providing feelings of love, granting autonomy and emphasizing accountability to a child, were more likely to have kids who developed the art of persistence, which led to better outcomes in school and lower instances of misbehavior.
Dads who ruled with an iron fist and an authoritarian style (harsher and more punishment-based parenting) had less persistent children.
“Fathers have a direct impact on how children perceive persistence and hope, and how they implement that into their lives,” said Randall Day, professor in the School of Family Life at Brigham Young University and co-author of the study. “It’s important to say that moms can do this, too, but it turns out that when fathers use authoritative parenting, they have an impact on how their adolescents perceive themselves and how persistent they are in their lives.”
Day calls these types of dads “heart beat fathers” because of their consistent presence in the ordinary day-to-day interactions with their kids.
Researchers said the study joins a growing body of research that suggests fathers are uniquely important to children’s self-regulation and self-esteem. While that is not to say mothers do not instill these values, men and fathers may take on this role more often because of societal acceptance and expectations.
“Our study suggests fathers who are most effective are those who listen to their children, have a close relationship, set appropriate rules, but also grant appropriate freedoms.” BYU resarcher
For those dads who want to incorporate more authoritative parenting into their style the resarchers encouraged parents to simply listen.
The final piece of advice from this research?
“Spend more time listening at a deep level and less time trying to give lectures or solve the problem.”
Teaching persistence & hope. Can it get any better than that?
And fathers give hope sometimes not by doing anything more than listening.
They give hope that the words being said by their children mean something.
And that gives kids hope that they mean something <not just their words>.
“heart beat fathers.”
Crows, ravens, fathers … it all comes down to hope.
I am not a big regret guy. <and, no, I do not regret not being a crow or a raven … hmmmmm … although I do like wearing black>.
I tend to be pretty happy, and satisfied, with the decisions I have made throughout life. However … I do feel like I have missed out on something big by not being a father. Mostly because despite all the other stuff that comes with being a father … they are in the Hope business.
Now that, my friends, is a meaningful career.
Happy Father’s Day.