In August 2018, an innocent dove built a nest in my bathroom’s window and laid two precious eggs. A similar incident happened in November 2018 and the dove abandoned the eggs as a result of my perceived disturbance each time I used the bathroom. Being fully aware that the dove acted based on its knowledge and oblivion of the fact that it wasn’t the best place to have built the nest, I decided to cover the window’s net with an A4 paper size to institute a boundary between the dove and me so as to create a conducive and peaceful environment for the dove to successfully hatch its eggs and raise its young ones.
December 2018, I heard consistent coos and I was moved to inquire about the dove’s sudden change of behavior. I happily discovered the eggs have been hatched and the young ones were adorable. Much of my excitement came from the fact that I had knowledge of the dove’s previous behavior which helped me to institute a healthy boundary for our co-existence.
During a retreat in 2018, one of my pastors said, “We often spend enormous resources (time, funds etc.) and effort in our pursuit for knowledge in education, career, business etc. which is fantastic and realistic; but we fail to expend such resources and effort in understanding human beings who we interact and relate with on a daily basis”.
The whole idea of boundaries in relationships is to engender love, respect, appreciation and embracing diversities, collaboration, unity, productivity etc. The relationships in this context encompass marital, business, career, academics, courtship etc. Hence, without a deliberate search for knowledge and understanding of the people you encounter every day, there’s bound to be misunderstanding, chaos, disputes, grudges etc.
Now, let’s go back to the story. What are the vital lessons?
- Seek to Understand Human Behaviour
On August 2018, I threw away a nest containing two eggs because the dove abandoned it. This was simply attributed to my lack of knowledge that doves could potentially abandon their nests if they encounter any disturbance. When I eventually knew this, there was a difference in the final outcome. So are human relationships; though it may be complicated to study & understand human behavior, you’ll be able to relate, communicate and deal with people from different backgrounds, belief systems, cultures etc. with the help of the Holy Spirit and exposure to teachings and books on human relations.
- Build Healthy Relationships Boundaries
It’ll be somewhat impossible for the dove to successfully incubate and hatch its eggs if I didn’t intentionally build a healthy boundary for our co-existence. What kind of boundary have you built in your marital, business, career, academics, courting relationships? What are your dos and don’ts? Do you respect others’ boundaries? When I failed to build a healthy boundary in August 2018, I threw away two precious abandoned eggs. This is how we lose and abandon our family members, friends, clients, spouses, superiors, mentors, subordinates, business partners etc. as a result of our inability to understand and respect their personalities.
- Don’t be Easily Offended
I guess I omitted that the dove’s coo was sometimes not pleasant to my ears while the excreta gave a stench from my window. But I wasn’t offended; all I saw were the adorable offspring. In our everyday relationship with others, misunderstanding and conflicts are expected. How do you ensure you don’t get easily offended? According to Pastor Godman Akinlabi, “Don’t be an object of offence or put yourself in a position to be offended”. Being in an offence is a trap because it seizes our sense of reasoning. The fact is; some people’s dishonest activities won’t stop. However, we can’t use one person’s wrong to condemn a tribe, neither should we stop trusting people because of past precedence. Learn to let go and have a clear conscience in order to give people a second chance.
What do we Stand to Gain? The world will certainly be a better place if only we’ll deliberately not only seek to understand people, but also intentionally respect their space. An intern or apprentice might be withholding an idea that can take your organization to the apex just because you lack the knowledge to relate effectively.
Incessant breakups, marital conflicts and divorce could be avoided if there were healthy relationship boundaries. Our political leaders can create a formidable boundary between good governance and corruption in their relationship with the masses.
Lastly, I came back from the Christmas holidays in early 2019 to find out another dove had laid two precious eggs. The eggs were successfully hatched recently and the babies were adorable. Probably my bathroom window has been designated as a safe haven. Please don’t leave people worse than you met them. When we are gone, it’s the impact we have on peoples’ lives that’ll be greatly missed and remembered.
Live right, live positively, put a smile on someone’s face today and remain blessed.
Written by: Richard Agu