Faithful, Cooperative Parents
▪ The temperature on the South African highveld, or interior plateau, is close to freezing. From my warm third-floor office, I anxiously watch a leafless tree sway to and fro before a howling winter wind. Down in a fork of the tree, a laughing dove is keeping a couple of three-day-old chicks warm.
Before the first eggs were laid, the dove and its mate cooperated in building the nest—the male bringing twigs and the female setting them in place. They did a superb job because fierce winter winds have been unable to dislodge the nest, which has now been home to two broods. The female incubated these eggs at night; the male, during the day. After about two weeks, the eggs hatched. Before two more weeks are up, the nestlings will be big and also strong enough to fly.
Listen! Can you hear that pleasant cooing that sounds like gentle laughter? The female laughing dove, with her crop full of food for her hungry chicks, has announced her arrival on a nearby branch and is ready to relieve her mate. Even after the chicks have left the nest, both parents will continue feeding them until they can fend for themselves.
I often marvel at the cooperation and tender care shown by those birds, whose instincts are unfailingly passed on from one generation to the next. These facts call to mind the words of Psalm 86:8: “There is none like you . . . , O Jehovah, neither are there any works like yours.”
In his written Word, the Holy Bible, Jehovah God has provided guidance for human parents that is as reliable as the instincts he gave to the doves. For example, the Bible urges mothers “to love their children.” (Titus 2:4) To fathers, it says: “Do not be irritating your children, but go on bringing them up in the discipline and mental-regulating of Jehovah.” (Ephesians 6:4; 1 Timothy 5:8) To be sure, parents who do these things are truly precious in God’s eyes.