“A wise son heareth his father’s instruction:
but a scorner heareth not rebuke.”
It was a beautiful spring day as we came out of church that Sunday morning. As all of us children ran to play tag or some other game before our parents started gathering us to go home, our attention was drawn to some little boys running between cars, grasping at something. My sister Hayley and I went to see what it was, and found two baby ducks lost in the church parking lot. They were so cute! We helped catch them and the others crowded around to pet them. Others searched the poor duckies’ mother, but they came back with the report she was nowhere to be found.
We showed mom and dad the baby ducks and told them we couldn’t find their mother anywhere. We hoped, of course, as little girls will do, to adopt them.
“Please can’t we take them home?” I asked. “The pavement is so hot and they have nowhere to go.”
“And I think there are some big dogs around here that could eat them!” Hayley said as she tried to convey their immanent.
“Girls, I’m sure the mother duck is close by, and when we leave, she’ll call them,” Dad told us.
But at the heart of our “concern” for these ducks’ wellbeing, was a desire to have pets to enjoy, and we were not easily persuaded. Despite his cautions to us that these were not hamsters and rabbits, but animals that belong in the wild and should stay there for their good, we persuaded our father to let us keep them—at least until they were old enough to go free in the creek.
“Honour thy father and thy mother:
that thy days may be long upon the land
which the LORD thy God giveth thee.”
Happiness knew no bounds as we drove home that day! We named our beautiful ducks Millie and Molly. Hayley and I planned for their new home in the bathtub upstairs. When we got home, all five of us kids worked together to give them water and something we thought baby ducks would eat, a cozy “nest” and towels to make them comfortable.
We so enjoyed those baby ducks! They were eating well and even would search out little things to eat in the grass. They would nestle in our hair and would go to sleep while we sat and read a book. We loved them, and they seemed very happy.
But when God set up fathers as the head of their homes, He also gives them a wisdom He doesn’t endow to the children. We had not come to understand this principle quite yet.
However, only a few days later, Millie started acting strange. She quit eating and was very lethargic. Then to our horror, she began throwing her little head back and was unable to control her movements. We cried as we watched our beloved baby duck pass away and held a somber funeral for her in the back yard.
We were still so grateful for the duck that was left; she was still very healthy. Perhaps Millie had gotten sick. Certainly it wasn’t anything we had done—we had given her the utmost care. Thoughts played in the back of my mind, wondering if we should have listened to Dad…
The next day we gave all of our attention to poor little Molly, who was now alone. We tried to make her feel less lonely by putting a doll in the bathtub with her so she could snuggle in the hair. But by the following day, as I sat with her on my lap while I read a book, I noticed the same symptoms I had seen before Millie passed away. I jumped up and ran to the kitchen. “Mom! She’s dying too!” I wailed.
After Molly was laid to rest beside her sister, Hayley and I tearfully came to the conclusion that our father had been right. The next time we went to church, we saw a mother duck swimming in the creek with several other ducklings. At that moment we realized that sometimes fathers will have a caution about something; as we strive to be submissive daughters, we need to heed these cautions and not demand an explanation before we make a choice. We hugged our daddy and promised him to always obey him from our hearts.
“We need to heed [our father’s] cautions
and not demand an explanation.”
Since that day there have been many times when the ideas of us girls have been different from Dad’s. Our minds go back to two baby ducks in the bathtub and the tragic lesson they taught us. We look at Daddy, and with a new respect we say, “We will obey you. We trust your heart.”
“The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice:
and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him.”