Long ago, there were two Eagles that fell in love and decided to have a
family. Their nest was on the side of a high cliff. The female eagle
felt that before she could have any baby eaglets, their nest would have
to be prepared in a very special way. This "Eagles' Nest" was twenty
feet long, eight feet wide, and four feet deep. It was big! The bottom
of the nest was covered with thorns, briars, and sticker bushes, and
then it was layered with grass, and leaves, and soft feathers.
Two eggs were laid. Inside the first egg was a little girl eagle named
Sarah. She was a very active little girl. She couldn't wait to get out
into the world to see how big it was. She kicked and scratched and
clawed until she broke out of her shell. Sarah was very curious.
Inside the second egg was a little boy eagle named Timothy. He loved
the comfort of his egg. No one bothered him. He could sleep, and
think, and grow without being disturbed.
Days passed and Sarah was already thinking of how fun it would be to fly
like her Parent's. Timothy had gotten so big that he grew out of his
egg and crawled into the nest. He loved the soft feathers that had been
puffed up for him to lay in.
Father watched the kids while Mother hunted for food and water. Then
Mother watched the kids while Father got the food.
Timothy and Sarah were different from each other. Sarah was always
active and busy, and Timothy seemed to be idle and lazy. Before long,
Sarah learned how to fly while Timothy was content laying around in the
Finally Mother Eagle said, "Timothy, I want you to learn how to fly.
You need to climb onto my back and go flying with Me."
Timothy replied, "I don't want to Mother. I'd rather lay around and
"No son," said Mother Eagle. "I am not giving you a choice. You need
to come with me so I can teach you how to fly. I promise that it will
be worth it."
Timothy reluctantly climbed onto his mother's back. They jumped off of
the edge of the nest and circled high into the sky. The higher they
flew, the tighter Timothy held on. Then suddenly without any warning,
Mother Eagle folded her wing and rolled over. Timothy lost his grip and
started to fall thousands of feet toward the ground. He couldn't fly.
Mother Eagle swooped down and caught Timothy, Just before he hit the
ground, then she carried him to safety.
Meanwhile, Father Eagle was back at the nest, removing the feathers, and
the leaves, and the grass. The comfort of the soft nest was gone. All
that was left were the thorns, briars, and sticker bushes.
When Timothy and his mother returned to the nest, Timothy's parents told
him that they were not always going to be there to take care of him and
that he had become too comfortable living in the family nest. They told
him that he needed to do three things in order to learn to fly. (1.) He
needed to visualize himself as a "Champion Eagle" soaring through the
sky as the master of the wind. Then he needed to (2.) take-a-risk
(meaning that he was at-risk until he was willing to take-a-risk to be
individually accountable for his life) and (3.) he needed to put forth
an honest, sincere effort to grow and succeed and to realize the
greatness within him.
Standing around in the thorn-filled-nest didn't make Timothy too happy.
There was no place to sit without getting stuck by a thorn or a
thistle. There was no food to eat and he couldn't sleep.
Timothy's mother asked him to try and fly again. He climbed onto his
mother's back and together they jumped off of the edge of the nest.
Timothy had never noticed how strong his mothers wings were, he was
impressed as they circled higher and higher into flight.
"Are you ready Timothy?" She asked.
"Yes." He answered.
Folding her wing, she turned up-side-down, and Timothy let go. He was
falling. He kicked his feet, flapped his wings, and yapped his jaw but
nothing he tried would work. Then he heard his mothers voice calling,
"Timothy, the wind is your friend, spread your wings and fly."
Timothy cried, "I can't! I can't!"
Mother Eagle called back, "Yes you can. Spread your wings and fly."
Following her directions, Timothy stretched out his wings. He felt the
pressure of the wind beneath him lifting him higher and higher. It
scared him at first, but before long, Timothy steered and dived,
twisted and flipped through the crisp morning air. He was flying, he
was actually flying. This was the greatest experience that he had ever
It didn't take long for it to dawn on him that all of the time he was
lying around in the nest, being lazy and bored, he had the power within
himself to soar through the air and become the marvelous creature he was
intended to be.
Several years passed. Timothy's parents were older now and Sarah had a
family of her own. Timothy and his Mate were preparing their family nest
- and one afternoon while flying from the thorn patch he thought to
himself, "Thank you Mother for teaching me to love to fly."
This story is a children's parable. Parables are intended to convey
truths in proportion to how receptive the listener is. To some, it is a
mere story, and to others it reveals mysteries or secrets that exhibit
some conditions of true knowledge. It is important to distinguish
between the interpretation of a parable and it's application. The true
interpretation is the meaning the parable conveys when it is first
spoken or written. The application may vary with age and circumstance,
but if the original meaning is to be grasped, it is necessary to always
consider its context and setting.
"The Eagles' Nest" supports two natural laws that "James W. Newman",
author of the book, "Release Your Brakes" identified. Natural Law # 1:
"We tend to move to our Comfort Zones." And Natural Law # 2: "To reach a
goal we must leave a Comfort Zone."
You can discover the secrets of a happy home and family as you
consistently solve problems, strengthen relationships, and set and
achieve goals together. Achieving a goal requires that you seriously
consider what comfort zones you have moved to and then determine whether
or not you are willing to leave those comfort zones.
Secret Number One: Build your family FOUNDATION by believing in each
Believe in yourself, in your children, in your parents, in your
marriage, in your family, and in your faith.
In many families, there are conditions that stretch people's capabilities
to believe. I am talking about families who's members, especially
teenagers, become "laws unto themselves." They tell their parents what
they will wear, who they will hang out with, whether or not they will go
to school, what time they will be in at night (if at all), and who they
will date, etc. This kind of behavior carries with it a lack of
respect for other people and usually starts when the person does
something they know they shouldn't do. The more they act contrary to
what they know is right the more desensitized they become. Ironically,
in many cases, the one who seems to care the least is the one who has
the most control. Under these types of circumstances parents feel
forced to make ultimatums like, "if you can't follow our rules, then you
will have to move out."
If you are ever in this kind of situation don't give up hope. Start now
to do something that initiates a change. When your conditions seem
unbearable, take some time out of your day and go where you can be alone
and think about what needs to be done. As you are thinking, write down
some of the ideas that come to your mind, then get together and solve
the problem. The answers that you are looking for are looking for you.
If you trust and believe in yourself and in your family, the help that
you need will come.
Secret Number Two: Create a warm and caring home ATMOSPHERE
George Eliot, (Mary Ann Evans Cross) was a nineteenth century author who
once said that "Friendship is the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe
with someone, having neither to weigh your thoughts or measure your
words." My identical twin brother Dale and I are the ninth and tenth
children from a family of ten children and my wife Loree and I have five
children in our family. Family members by nature can be each others
best friends. I appreciate my parents for providing an atmosphere in
our home that encouraged each of us to try and meet our individual needs
so that we could contribute positively to society. The first, and
perhaps the most important of four developmental asset categories is to
have a strong sense of BELONGING. The other three developmental asset
categories are: to possess PERSONAL MASTERY, INDEPENDENCE, and
GENEROSITY. The value of having a home that provides a place of comfort
and safety to retreat to when the world gets too rough to handle is of
Secret Number Three: Develop a common family MISSION
I attended a conference where Stephen R. Covey was the keynote speaker.
Dr. Covey is recognized across the world for his leadership in helping
corporations, associations, organizations, and families to clearly
define their mission. The mission is the course that directs the
respective corporation, association, organization and family to its
eventual destination. During his speech, he cited a study that his
company had conducted that concluded that all good families - even great
families in the world are "off track" 90 percent of the time. To
illustrate this point he used the flight of an airplane. Before the
plane can take off, the pilots have a flight plan. They know exactly
where they're going. But during the course of the flight there are
factors that act upon that plane such as, wind, rain, turbulence, air
traffic etc. The pilot adjusts to these unpredictable factors and may
vary off course for much of the time during the entire trip but in the
end the plane will arrive at its destination. He credits the planes
safe arrival to the way that the pilots respond to the constant feedback
and information that they receive along way. Then he makes the point
that, "It doesn't make any difference if we are off target or even if
our family is a mess. The hope lies in the vision and in the plan and
in the courage to get back on track and to keep coming back time and
time again." Dr. Covey encourages us to use this metaphor of the
airplane to build a family mission that communicates a sense of hope and
excitement around the idea of building a beautiful family culture.
Secret Number Four: Promote INDUSTRY
The ethic of hard work has always been recognized as one of the secrets
to a happy life.
I have spent over five thousand hours as a volunteer at the Salt Lake
Juvenile Detention Center. One of my former responsibilities was to
arrange for speakers to come and talk with the kids. Larry H. Miller,
the well known business leader in the Utah community, and owner of the
UTAH JAZZ basketball team came often to speak and to encourage the youth
to never give up and to follow their dreams. He has a strong commitment
to at-risk youth because during his teenage years he was labeled as an
"incorrigible youth". Larry told the kids that there are three steps to
be successful in life. Step #1. Show up. Step #2. Show up on time, and
Step #3. Show up on time with a good attitude. With this expert advice,
the young men and young women had a simple formula to support them in
their efforts to succeed and be happy.
Promoting an appreciation for hard work in our families is paramount if
we are to be successful in today's world. "The heights of great men
reached and kept, were not attained by sudden flight, but they, while
their companions slept, were toiling upward in the night." Learn the
six W's! Work Will Win When Wishing Won't. Be always employed in
something useful. Learn to love work, it is the secret to success!
Secret Number Five: LOVE one another
M. Scott Peck, M.D., teaches that love is not a feeling. A feeling is a
combination of thought, emotion, sense and experience. When you
associate your feelings to someone you love, that association connects
you to that person, but genuine love is not a feeling. Genuine love is
the will to extend yourself for the purpose of strengthening your own or
another's personal growth.
I recently heard about a father who found out about his teenage
daughters un-wed pregnancy. She had managed to keep her pregnancy from
her parents until she was six months along. Upon learning that his
daughter was pregnant and that she had been carrying this responsibility
by herself for so long, this fathers eyes filled with tears. He threw
his arms around his daughter and cried, "you poor sweet thing. How have
you managed to shoulder this challenge by yourself for so long? Why
didn't you come to me sooner?" Her timid reply was, "I was afraid of
how you would react." Instead of an emotional negative reaction, this
father made a conscious decision to love his daughter. Genuine love
requires commitment to the ones you love and the application of
Statistics tell us that as many as two out of three families break apart
because of divorce.
In the movie, "The River Wild" some true knowledge relative to the
divorce epidemic is revealed. Meryl Streep plays the part of a woman
named, "Gail." Gail grew up in northern Montana, where she loved the
outdoors. During her college years she was a guide on the "Snake
River." She got married, moved to Boston and had a son and a
daughter. Every year the family took a trip to Montana to visit Gail's
parents. For the past two years, at the last minute, her husband,
"Tom" backed out of the trip. This year he promised their son Roarke
that for his twelfth birthday he would go with them to run the river.
While they were packing to leave, Tom came home from work and announced
that he wasn't going to be able to go. After a huge fight, Gail took
her two children, and the family dog and left her husband behind.
Gail's parents met them at the airport. Her Father is a rugged hard
working man who has been deaf from birth. Her mother is a very patient
and wise woman. Gail and her mother were spending some time together
talking when Gail says: "I think my marriage is over Mamma...... He
(Tom) just can't seem to make time for us anymore. He's let himself get
so beaten up by his job - and he hates it, but he spends every waking
minute over there. He hasn't been home one weekend since Christmas. I
don't know what it is that he's trying to prove, but I'm really sick of
the whole thing, I'm sick of the whole fight. Everything has become
Gail's mother listened empathetically and then she said, "Honey forgive
me but you don't know what hard is. That's because you gave yourself an
out. In our generation we had no out. That was the pact of marriage.
Don't you think that if I gave myself an out, with your father, given
his orneriness, and his deafness, that I wouldn't have taken it years
ago?" She went on to say that love and marriage requires a total
commitment to each other and to the family without giving yourself the
option of having "an out." As they finished their conversation, Gail and
her Mother hugged each other and then left for the river. While the
raft was being launched, Tom arrived onto the scene. He had taken two
commercial planes from Boston, and a charter flight to make up for his
Even though this example comes from Hollywood, the condition of "not
giving ourselves an out" and being totally committed to each other rings
loud with truth that should help us to reverse this divorce epidemic.
Secret Number Six: Be YOUNG-AT-HEART
While delivering the commencement exercise speech at Villanova
University, Tom Clancy told the graduating students that he was going to
give them their last lesson in metaphysics (the philosophy of ultimate
reality). And then he said, " Nothing is as real as a dream. The world
may change about you but your dream will not, it will always be the link
with the person you are today, young and full of hope. If you hold on
to it, you may grow old, but you will never be old. And that, Ladies
and Gentlemen, is the ultimate success."
The sixth secret of a happy home is to be young-at-heart. Following
your dreams keeps you young and happy. Dreams are dynamic, they change
and they grow. Dreams start as ideas and are later realized because the
person believes that their dream will come true. Dreams cultivate joy
to the heart, light to the eyes, music to the ears, and life to the
whole being. To dream for yourself and to inspire others, to set goals
and to achieve greatness against tremendous odds is your right.
Everyone can achieve personal excellence a little at a time. Excellence
and quality are a reflection of the way that you feel about yourself and
about life. If you don't care about these basic things then such not
caring will carry over into the work you do and your work will become
shabby and shoddy. Real craftsmanship, regardless of the skill involved
requires real caring and real caring reflects your attitude about
yourself and about life. Believe in your dreams and your belief will
create the fact.
We have discussed six secrets to having a Happy Organized Managed
Environment. Now let's "try to fly" by stepping out of our comfort zones
and setting some goals. The architect Daniel H. Burnham once said,
"Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men's blood and
probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high and
hope and work. Remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded
will never die. But long after we are gone will be a living thing
asserting itself with ever-growing insistency. Remember our sons and
daughters and grandsons and granddaughters are going to do things that
would stagger us. Let your watchword be order and your beacon beauty."
Darol Wagstaff is President of Youth Motivation Institute and the
Champions For Life Speakers Bureau. He serves as the At-Risk Youth
Committee Chairman for the Granite Education Foundation. He and his
wife Loree have five children and live is Salt Lake City, Utah. You can
contact Darol at: P.O. Box 1444, Salt lake City, Utah 84110 (801)
266-8483 Phone; (801) 277-3888 Fax