Today is the birthday of John James Audubon (thank you for the reminder Google!) – the celebrated ornithologist known best for his meticulous illustrations of the birds of North America. Born in 1785, Mr. Audubon’s special interest in birds was present even as young child. He wrote, “I felt an intimacy with them…bordering on frenzy [that] must accompany my steps through life.” Thankfully rather than squelch his son’s rather unique passion, his father encouraged it!
John James Audubon recalled, “[My father] would point out the elegant movement of the birds, and the beauty and softness of their plumage. He called my attention to their show of pleasure or sense of danger, their perfect forms and splendid attire. He would speak of their departure and return with the seasons.”
His father’s eloquent encouragement of his son’s unique passion – his calling attention to the unique features of the birds – paved the way for John James Audubon’s incredible contribution to society. How easy it is to get so swept up in our own “grown-up” plans that we forget to follow the child. What a wonderful reminder those of us who have the good fortune to be educators of young children!