Outside our breakfast nook window, we have a hummingbird feeder hanging from a shepherd's hook. It's always pleasant to watch the little birds with their so-fast-you-can't-see-them wings hovering around and drinking from it.
We have three regular customers and they generally get along well.
While we ate our lunch, we watched these two go at it, dive bombing each other and even wrestling to the ground. I've never seen anything like it! Our third guy occasionally swooped in and grabbed a quick sip while they were fighting over the feeder.
We watched the battle royale for about twenty minutes. Finally, both hummingbirds were exhausted and took opposite perches to refuel. Then they were back at it.
The kids were amazed. "Don't they know there's plenty for all?" "Why are they so selfish?" "Why can't they just share?"
I explained that hummingbirds are very territorial and it's their instinct to fight for what they think is theirs. They know no other way to act.
Moms, you know where I'm going with this, don't you? I then asked the kids why they had trouble sharing, why they fought over games and toys. Those birds didn't have a choice about their behavior, but people do.
We talked about how Jesus can help us be kind to each other and act unselfishly. It's hard to put others' needs and wants before our own, but we're called to be servants. We can choose to put ourselves first, or we can show love and care for others first.
It's one thing for me to tell my kids these things. But seeing it in action, even though it was hummingbirds and not people, made an impression on them. I love it when simple things in nature provide unique, memorable lessons for us, don't you?