“Shoelaces and Food,” Friend, June 1992, 30
Andy and his mother were sitting near the window. Mother was teaching Andy to tie his shoes.
“It’s hard to do,” said Andy.
“You’re right,” said Mother. “But once you learn how to tie them, you won’t have to wait for anyone to do it for you.”
Mother looked out the window. “Look, Andy, Mrs. Sparrow is teaching her babies to find food.”
“Is it hard for the baby birds to learn to find food?” Andy asked.
“Yes,” said Mother, “but soon they’ll know how to find their own food. Then they won’t have to wait for Mrs. Sparrow to find it for them.”
Andy practiced tying his shoes. He could make the first loop just right. But when he tried to make the second loop, the first one slipped away. “Those birds are lucky,” he said. “They don’t have to tie shoelaces.”
“Maybe they think that you’re lucky,” Mother told him. “You don’t have to hunt for your food. Now, watch carefully what I do.”
Mother showed Andy how to stick his thumb inside the first loop to hold it. Then he could wrap the other shoelace around the loop and tuck the lace under itself. “You can do it. You almost have it,” she encouraged him.
Andy worked at it, then stopped to rest a minute. He watched the sparrows. “Mama, why do the baby birds stay under the bushes?” he asked. “And why don’t they cheep like they did in their nest?”
“The cat might hear or see them and try to catch them,” Mother explained.
The little sparrows stayed together. They watched their mother search for worms. They cocked their heads as they hunted for worms too.
“Look at all the worms they found!” Andy exclaimed as the baby birds fluttered their wings and hopped around under the bush, eating their dinners. “It wasn’t very hard for them to learn to find food.”
Andy tucked the shoelace under itself. He pulled the two loops as tightly as he could. “Look! I did it! I tied my shoe!” He jumped up and down.
“Great!” said Mother. “Let me see you do it again.”
Andy sat down and tied his other shoe. Then he untied them and tied them again. “See! I really can do it! It wasn’t very hard, after all!”
When Andy’s father came home, Andy ran to meet him. “Guess what, Daddy!” he cried. “The baby birds learned to find their food. And I learned to tie my shoes!”