On my way home yesterday I saw Turkey and two chicks crossing the road. The chicks legs had to move quite quickly to keep up with their mother, but they made it, and the three disappeared into the woods. I was struck by what I saw. In order to get to their destination the three had to cross and extraordinarily dangerous obstacle, and the only way to do this was for each of them to convey themselves. The Mother could not carry her chicks, or send them ahead so she could protect the rear. They had to follow her, and do as she did. It is an interesting way to learn. She acts. They observe and do as she does. Following behind her, they learn how to eat, where to sleep, and how to get from place to place. She teaches them how to live by doing. They learn by making the choice to follow. She protects them by showing them what they need to know. Her attention is mostly on what she is doing, not if they are paying attention. In this way each has a responsibility for their own actions. If the chicks don't pay attention, they will not learn what they need to know.
I have heard stories of birds protecting their chicks under the shelter of their wings, but it strikes me that if that's all they did, they would all die of starvation. Taking the risk of letting the chicks out into the world to learn, unprotected by sheltering wings is an essential part of their figuring out how to live.
Today, I will be paying attention to when my own desire to stay close to what is comfortable and safe is keeping me for me learning lessons that are only available just outside the bounds of what I already know.