Phoebe, with feathers and down like the silver moon, shines her light upon the world. Born into privilege as the hatchling of protected parents. Her future appears secure but her foster mother, the white Madonna, takes nothing for granted. Phoebe is raised to listen and obey. A word of warning and she should react without hesitation or objection. Her reward is the safety of a protective wing. Her punishment is a sharp and uncompromising peck of a beak. Harsh you might think but much less harsh than the threat of a bird of prey or similar danger.

How do we as human parents offer protection to our children in a world of predators? What example and guidance do we give to them by the way we conduct our lives? How well tuned is our intuition and are we wise enough and strong enough to listen to and live by that inner voice rather than following social trends and biases?

My mothering was animal instinctive, any credit I take is for reacting before I had time to think. My cubs, now grown, are calmly confident, self reliant, admirable adults. A mother like me does not make it easy for her children. She observes and reacts, making decisions that are not always popular but result in understanding. Her children are not constantly asked what they want. They are required to be adaptable, sometimes to be silent, often to be outside in natural surroundings devoid of technology. They are raised with non-human “brothers and sisters”, some of which have tails and some of which have fins or feathers, shells or fur. They discover that communication does not require you to scream and often means that you need to listen. They eat to nourish their bodies which have been designed to last for decades if well maintained. They grow into personal responsibility for their state of physical and mental health. They required no instruction in showing love and respect for both parents.