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What a baby crow taught me about safety and growth

So some of the little baby birds are in the process of opening their wings into this big world away from the safety of the nest and their parents. A family of crows has started to visit my garden, with a little baby amongst them. I have been unable to take my eyes off this little guy, he is so adventurous and trying so many new things, as well as screeching for food from his parents from time to time.

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What I have noticed, over the past few days, is how he is developing, not only because of his own adventurous spirit but also because his parents are slowly leaving him for longer and longer on his own to fend for himself (he's not necessarily happy about this!)

Things aren't always coming easily to him though. I think he was stung by a wasp this morning when he was trying different types of things to see if they were edible; it's all about trial and error for him at the moment with food, flying, noises and being out in the world on his own (even though crows do fly and work in groups).

What I thought about was how similar this baby crow's experiences are to us when we are testing ourselves with new experiences or stretching ourselves to try out new opportunities. There's that initial fear at first - is this right for me (🐦can I eat this?!); then along with the fear comes an element of excitement (🐦I can fly!) - imagine if this works and I really want this (🐦I'm flying!)! So we're off on this new path with something new; then something goes wrong (🐦falling into the pond!). When this happens we can feel as though we have failed somehow, even though we are just like the baby crow, trying new things and seeing if they work; if they don't we can try again or take a slightly different approach (🐦for example, learning that eating wasps isn't a good idea!). The challenge comes when we are not feeling great about ourselves if things don't go as we had hoped they would. It could appear so easy to step away and go back to the way we were living before. If we don't push ourselves through to what we know we can do or be, something in us changes and we may feel down on ourselves. This ultimately can have a negative impact on our self-esteem or belief in ourselves. Conversely, if we push through, even though it is uncomfortable and we feel uneasy, learning along the way when things don't go right, we have achieved something which we set out to do. Each time this happens our self-esteem grows and we can build from that. We can't build on perceived failure but we can build on each success.

So what happens the next time we are given the opportunity to try something new? Do we decide it is all too difficult and not worth the effort in case it doesn't work out, or do we step up and go for something again and work our way through whatever happens? If we compare this to the little crow, he has no choice but to keep going, because firstly he wouldn't be able to defend himself against predators, he wouldn't survive because he wouldn't be able to find anything to eat and lastly he wouldn't be able to fly because each time his wings didn't work as he expected, he would give up and be stuck on the floor for the rest of his life (as dogs walk, fish swim - birds fly) so he wouldn't be a bird, he would be stuck on the ground not living the life he was meant to live.

I know which one I am going for - I vote crow! When we change a SHOULD to a MUST, things for us change too. I should make that call, I should do that course, I should learn that language -vs- I MUST make that call, I MUST do that course, I MUST learn that language. Which one inspires you more? When a should becomes a must, we make things happen. So what decision are going to make a MUST today?

Talking about things not working out as we expect, I decided today to make some jam doughnut muffins (yes they are a thing and they are delicious!). All went well, except when I went to get them out of the muffin tin, one of them stuck, split in two and jam everywhere!! I could have said I failed and not bothered trying to get the others out. I decided, however, to try a different tactic, used a knife round the other 5 and they all came out in one go. Here's the recipe if you're interested - I highly recommend you try them!

They are from Nigella's Domestic Goddess book


125 ml milk

85 ml sunflower oil

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

200 g self raising flour

100 g caster sugar

12 teaspoons strawberry jam

100 g unsalted butter

150 g granulated sugar

1 very well oiled muffin tin

Makes 12 small and 6 large muffins

Preheat the oven to 190℃ (170℃ fan).

Whisk together the milk, oil, egg and vanilla extract. Pour into the flour and caster sugar and stir until only just mixed (lumps are necessary otherwise it could be tough cakes). Put a small amount of the batter into each muffin cup (until about a third filled) add a teaspoon of strawberry jam into each one then top off with the remainder of the batter.

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Put them in a preheated oven and bake for about 20 minutes or until the muffins feel springy when touched and are golden brown.

When they are ready, melt the butter in a saucepan and pour into a small bowl, pour the sugar onto a large plate. Remove the muffins from the tin and taking each one at a time, watching your fingers, coat each one in the butter and then roll in the sugar. Put on a cooling rack (they are wonderful warm though!).



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