Confessions of a Rookie Birder: New family connections

Father and grandfather Richard, daughter and mom Catie, and grandson and son Thather show how three generations have found a new connection to each other through birding. (Photo by Pattie Miller)

I’m entering my fifth month of birding. For me, that’s quite an accomplishment. My attention tends to jump from one thing to another. For example, I have a closet full of half-completed projects––crochet baby blankets in process, counted-cross-stitch projects for my son, a dress in the making . . . So focusing on one thing for a while has been an anomaly. I think that birding and becoming more aware of God’s created world becomes habit-forming. And that’s a good thing.

Catie and Chandler compare the birds they are seeing to those presented in his junior birdwatching guide.

Over Memorial Day Weekend, we camped with family outside of Blairsville. Bob and I went birding every morning, usually carrying our first cup of coffee for the day. We went back out during the day and took a walk in the evening, watching the birds and searching for some we hadn’t seen. Each time we returned to camp, we were asked what we had seen on that trip.

When Beth, one of my first-cousins, came up with her sons, they birded as well. The older son Colton had been doing it on his own; the younger son Canyon was eager to get started. By the time the camping trip was over, grandmother Pattie was ready to order junior bird-watching books and binoculars for her oldest four grandsons. The interest in birds has grown throughout their extended family including Beth’s twin sister Catie’s family who live in a different state.

Pattie sent me photos of some of the family gathered together watching birds and has graciously allowed me to post them. Her most recent comment was, “I have to tell you we are having so much fun doing birding!”

Chandler proudly shows off his birding journal. (Photo by Pattie Miller)

As an educator, I can’t help but reflect on why this has been such a good connection in the multiple generations of the family. They’ve always been a close family, and sharing their passions and interests is nothing new. They’ve created an environment that encourages learning and growth. The children and grandchildren have been raised to appreciate God’s world. So birding is a logical next step. And Pattie made sure the children were equipped with the proper tools that are age-specific for them. That initial financial investment has paid off in huge relational dividends. Isn’t that what we all want for our families?

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