During this time of waiting, we prepared by reading books, magazines and internet resources about raising chickens. We had watched chicken coop tours on YouTube and had even visited a couple of chicken setups in person. As a matter of fact, some chicken-owning friends of ours, went away for a few days and gave us the opportunity to care for their feathered friends. We enjoyed the clucking and ruckus the birds made when they came toward us for food. We felt satisfied filling their watering fountains; and the egg collecting was exciting. Who knew?
At this moment, as I am writing, we have had our own chickens for 3 days. On day 1, we brought home a box of fuzzy joy. They were honest to goodness face-breakers. Baby chicks are such smile inducers that your face feels like it just might break off. Don’t try to fight it! It’s no use! Just expect your face to ache from smiling so much! :)
Our sweet bundles of fluff, 23 in total, were so soft and fuzzy. They peeped and then peeped some more. Within minutes, we were in L-O-V-E!
Now, one of the first things you learn with regard to raising chickens is how fragile young chicks can be. It is imperative that they are kept warm (90-95 degrees) and are dry, well watered and fed.
To make sure we were able to provide for their needs, we set up our brooder box ahead of time, turned on the heat lamp and using a thermometer checked the temperature of the box. We watched the temperature climb to 126 degrees. Ouch!! Too hot! We didn’t want to cook our chicks! We raised the heat lamp and finally arrived on a good starting temperature for the chicks.
As luck would have it, our chicks were ready for pickup a few hours earlier than expected. We transported them home and got to work. It was now time for that important “step one” – in which we dipped each chick’s beak into her waterer and watched for her to swallow. Once she swallowed, we grabbed another chick and repeated the process. When all the chicks were thoroughly watered, we added their feed and then breathed a sigh of relief - our chicks now knew where they could get their nourishment.
It takes much longer for a human baby to be able to feed itself not only physically but spiritually. Like most of you, we made somewhat similar preparations each time we were expecting a new baby in our family. We wanted to be sure our baby would be warm and dry, and well nourished. We wanted our baby to do more than just live; we wanted our baby to thrive. However, the reality is that one or two dips at the waterer aren’t going to be sufficient for our children as they were for the chicks.
How do we dip our little ones into the spiritual waterer and get them to swallow? How do we get them to understand that this is essential to their survival?
Here are some ideas:
- Talk of Christ.
- Acknowledge Him.
- Give thanks for Him.
- Share your testimony of Him.
- Let others know He is essential to YOUR survival.
- Sing songs of Christ.
- Tell stories of His life.
- Tell stories of His birth (not just at Christmas time).
- Tell Stories of His atonement, death, and resurrection (not just at Easter time).
- Make Family Scripture and Prayer Time a priority so your children can see the importance of these blessings. Let them participate.
- Teach your children to have personal prayer. This starts with a parent modeling an appropriate prayer and having a young child repeat it.
- Teach your child to access the word of God. This can be done in many ways and you can help them with these.
- They can learn to read.
- They can listen to an audio version of the scriptures.
- They can watch The Scripture Stories and other DVDs.
- They can memorize verses, hymns, etc.
I appreciate the message shared by Bishop H. David Burton, Presiding Bishop of the Church, as he spoke at a CES Fireside from Brigham Young University on 9 January 2000. He spoke specifically about the biblical account of Jesus’ encounter with the woman at the well in Samaria (see John 4:4–14):
“It is this living water, freely offered by Jesus Christ, that we all seek to quench our own spiritual thirst and that is critically needed to end the gospel drought that continues to plague mankind. As His disciples, we are the primary distribution system for delivering the living water from its everlasting source to His cherished children in need ... “It is only the living water of Jesus Christ that can and will bring a happy, successful, and everlasting life to the children of men.”
Speaking of some of the parables the Savior used to teach, Bishop Burton said:
The principles taught in those parables, if learned and practiced well, can “help us to be dispensers of the living water of Jesus Christ.”
Of course like with the chicks, getting our children to drink from the waterer is just the beginning. Our responsibility does not end there. We must make sure their water stays clean and pure. We must encourage them to drink long and deep. We must teach them the importance of fresh water (living prophets). So that when they are solely responsible for quenching their own thirst they will know from which well to draw.
“But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:13–14).
Please share your comments below.
You can read more about Dana’s crazy chicken coop capers at Noggins & Nonsense. Where life in the country is new and full of surprises.