Updated: Oct 1, 2021
Did you know that pigeons are incredibly intelligent? They able to adapt to any environment, which has led to them becoming one of the most prolific birds in the UK and in many places around the world. They are one of the few animals that can recognize its own reflection in a mirror and can recognize all 26 letters of the alphabet.
Their unique abilities have helped them to provide a great service to humans over many. They have a great in-built navigation system, which helps them find their way home and so they are often used as ‘homing pigeons.’ They were often used to carry messages for financial agencies and news agencies in Europe, or to help with search and rescue missions at sea.
Pigeons remind us that we all have unique skills and abilities that we can use to help others in some way. They remind us of the importance of communication and that it is possible to adapt and thrive in any new environment, no matter how daunting things may seem at first.
Value Your Uniqueness
Pigeons have unique talents that have been recognized and used to support people for many years. The ability to recognize the letters of the alphabet, identify different people in photographs and its own reflection in a mirror are unique skills to this particular bird.
When you think about it, everyone has unique gifts and talents that can be put to use to help others, whether that is to support, to entertain, to create, or to care for people. No other person can do the same thing that you do in the exact same way that you do it. That makes you unique and special. (For more on this see ‘Standing Tall With The Giraffe’)
When you learn to recognize and appreciate your own gifts, you will then start to feel more confident to use them. The more you use them, the more confident you will feel. You may also find that by acknowledging and following your strengths you will feel much better about yourself and happier as a result. Now wouldn’t that be a good thing to learn from a young age?
In a world that is constantly pushing us to do better, to set new goals, to try harder, it is more important than ever to support and encourage children to pursue the activities that they love, to take pride and enjoyment from the things they do well and to recognize what they are good at. Likewise, you need to practice this yourself.
Pigeons aren’t known for being good swimmers, but they don’t need to be – we have ducks for that. Pigeons have their own strengths that they stick to. My favourite quote from Albert Einstein is:
“Everybody is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree,
it will live its own life believing that it is stupid.”
Another added benefit of using your gifts to help others is that besides feeling good about yourself for doing something nice for others, other people also soon learn to value your gifts. This will make you feel appreciated and even more confident in your abilities and in turn make you feel good about yourself and happier as a result.
The Importance of Communication
Going back as far as 2500 BC, pigeons have been used to carry messages between people, with the earliest recorded going back to Mesopotamia, when a ruler sent a message to his people about let up of an ongoing conflict. Since then, they have been used to send messages of news, finances, warfare and even to let people know the location of sinking ships during the first world war.
This serves to remind us of the importance of communication on so many levels. People are naturally sociable creatures and need that communication with others. The events of 2020 and 2021 have highlighted this with a huge rise in mental health illnesses following the social-distancing and lock downs.
Communication is an art though, as it requires the ability to listen, as well as to articulate what you want to say. It requires the ability to read body language and facial expressions, to perspective take and empathize in order to fully understand and relate to people. It requires the art of being tactful when addressing an uncomfortable issue, in order to avoid upsetting people. It also involves being able to cooperate, turn-take and compromise in some situations.
As adults we often tend to take these skills for granted, though they don’t necessarily come easy to all adults, with some people having better communication skills than others. Strong communication skills are highly valued in the workplace and are key to strong and effective leadership, but like anything they do need to be taught.
Sadly, many children are losing some of the early communication skills as they spend more time on technology and less time on exploratory or role play and turn-taking games. Lock down will have also impacted on the ability of children to mix with their friends and build those early socialization skills, whilst also resulting in them missing important non-verbal cues from people wearing face coverings. Supporting children to develop early communication and relationship skills is so important and can have such a huge positive impact on their future well-being and success.
For more about communication see also ‘Lesson From The Sparrow – Supporting Children With Effective Communication’)
Survive and Thrive Anywhere
The third lesson we can learn from the pigeon is that you can thrive in any environment. Pigeons have been able to survive and thrive in the majority of countries around the world. They can adapt to any environment and adapt their diet to support their survival.
You can survive in any environment too. This is about your mindset and how you choose to view your circumstances. Gratitude can have such a positive impact on your mindset. When you take the time to recognize and be thankful for the things that you have and that are going well for you, you will realize that things are never as bad as they sometimes seem. For every negative you find in a situation try to find at least 1, if not more positives.
Whilst it is human nature to desire some changes, it is also human nature to fear others. Change can be scary, whether that is a new home, a new job, a new boss, a new routine etc. It is not so much the change that creates the fear, but the uncertainty that comes with it. When you are in this mode you are worrying about the future. Try bringing your attention back to the present moment. When you focus on the here and now there is nothing to worry about. Check out ‘Be Mindful with The Owl’ for more information and tips on mindfulness.
Finally, be confident and have faith in your own abilities. You are stronger than you think and more adaptable than you realize. You can do anything you put your mind to, but you have to believe in yourself. Surround yourself with positive people who also believe in you. It’s amazing how much this can help.
To support children with this teach them to become excited about change. Involve them in decisions, listen and empathize with their fears and worries, discuss the positives that can come from the changes and help them to find solutions for any problem they are worried about. Help them develop a positive mindset around their own situation and help them see you doing this too. (See also ‘A Butterfly’s Guide To Life Changes’.) With your help your children can develop the skills they need to survive and thrive in the situations that they will face as they go through life.
Be Positive With The Pigeon
The lessons from the pigeon encompass so many aspects of emotional intelligence that are key to a happy and successful life.
The message from the pigeon is to:
Be confident, be sociable, be yourself. You are unique, you are talented and you have the ability to make a positive difference to your life and the life of others.
For more tips on developing these skills in your children, you may be interested in checking out my Ebook: ‘How To Give Your Kids A Happy Head Start’