Lessons From An Owl Sanctuary

While we were away, we visited an owl sanctuary, which included a flying display from an eagle owl and a barn owl. These are rescue birds, and offspring of rescue birds – owls that have been born in captivity, and will never again fend for themselves in the wild. (The sanctuary also has facilities to rehabilitate and release wild owls that have been injured.)

“We don’t worry about our birds flying away,” the handler announced as the owl swooped from perch to glove for a scrap of chicken, “Because we don’t teach them to hunt.” Health and safety, you see. But it also means if the birds fly away, they will always come back as soon as they get hungry.

Which kind of got me thinking. Are there places in our lives where we have never learnt to hunt? Things that we should be able to do for ourselves, but don’t because nobody has taught us how? Or worse yet, are we holding people back in their lives because we refuse to teach them the skills?

It is nice to be needed. It is easy to think that teaching people skills is too much of a bother, they can just come and get it from us anyway, so why bother? It is nice to hold on to that special skill that we have, so that everybody can admire us, or we can justify our existence in the darkness of the night.

But I would much rather be wanted. Appreciated for my smile, and my individuality, who I am, rather than what I can do. I do my best not to keep my skills and lessons to myself, because when I rescue people, I want them to be able to out and rescue others, not relying on me for provisions for the rest of their lives.

What kind of rescuer will you be? The kind who builds owls, or owl sanctuaries?

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