Caged Bird


Caged Bird

Caged Bird – poem on mixed media

Childhood is a very important time in a person’s life. Those who raise children can either make or break them. If broken during these fragile, formative years, the outcome can be drastic. It can take a whole lifetime to heal, and oftentimes there are wounds that scar until death.

In an article by Livestrong.com, Heather Weiss said, “Nurturing relationships in a family are critical for the healthy development of a child. If a child feels safe, secure, and loved in their family, it helps with the formation of their self-esteem and well-being. It can also lead to a child who is more socially competent and has better communication skills than a child who does not feel these family connections.”

Any thoughts? Do you agree?


I wrote this poem a while ago. I had originally created a mixed media piece to go with it, but wanted to change it. This is the new version.

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76 thoughts on “Caged Bird

  1. I agree, parents have an important stewardship over the gifts that they are given. Not just to raise them, providing food and shelter, but their spiritual, emotional, and social growth as well.
    I see in the Day Care generation that’s demanding their “safe spaces”, that can’t emotionally process correction, wants money without work, a prize for showing up, or can’t even define the difference between male and female without making everything equal and “fair”; how vitally important true parents are to children.
    Parents who can correct, protect, teach, nurture, train, and let go of their precious charges to become future leaders, and not future burdens.
    Parents can truly make or break their children.

  2. I too totally agree. I see in my own life how the good things and the harsh things my parents did and said color me now. As my kids get older I see the same in them. There are things I need to apologize to them for and things that are growing beautiful fruit! Praise God that He can help heal the hurts and remind us of the good!

    • Heather, oh yes, me too. My upbringing was difficult, thanks to my dad’s alcoholism, and other factors. It really affected me and my development as a person. In raising my children, I am always aware of my mistakes and always say sorry and ask for forgiveness. I want them to know that I am not perfect, in fact, nobody is. That I will always make mistakes, and so will they. That they understand our fallen nature, and realize when they do wrong and make sure they make it right. I see wonderful fruit happening, but have also seen some not-so-lovely things happen because of my mistakes. I quickly teach them though that their actions were wrong, and that when I had done the same thing, it was wrong. At any rate, God is good and is the one that helps us and heals us, right?
      Thanks for sharing Heather, and please have a lovely weekend with your family.
      πŸ™‚ ❀

  3. Oh yes I agree! And I think we have been basking in the same sun today, cause we have written about the same topic! πŸ˜ŠπŸ˜ŠπŸ’–. And I loooove the art too! πŸ’–

    • Hi Trini, hahaha. Oh ya, I have to make sure I read your post from Thursday then. So sorry for the delay. Busyness gets the best of me sometimes. Usually I don’t blog on the weekends, but I really wanted to reply to comments that I couldn’t get to.
      Hope you’re having a lovely weekend.
      πŸ™‚ ❀

      • Don’t stress about that post, it’s right there for you to read whenever you have time 😊😊. Happy weekend to you too! πŸ’–

  4. I agree – and I think so often we see teens and some of their baggage is exactly the baggage the parents have – although there are times very healthy parents have kids “go wild” or “have issues” and so I try not to judge because parenting is a VERY HUMBLING ENDEAVOR and there are times when the person has to do their thing in spite of their upbringing….
    but I do think mean parents with “rules” all the time are just wounding kids – and more love is needed – good post amiga

    • Aint that the truth. Funny thing is that so many kids say, “I will never be like my mom/dad!” and then they turn out just like them.
      Oh yes, it’s true. Just because a child has a very healthy family relationship, doesn’t mean that they will not “go wild”, as you said. Also, those there are those that don’t have healthy family upbringings that don’t “go wild”, even though they still may have some psychological issues to deal with. Yea, no judging. Parenting, like you said, is a humbling endeavour, and learning experience. There are times that I have cried because of my words and actions, spoken and done, out of uncontrolled emotions. At times I thought to my self that I didn’t want my children growing up fearing me, as I did my father. Thankfully, God is patient, merciful, forgiving and doesn’t give up on me. I’m glad that my mistakes have served as teachable moments/learning experiences. And my children have been so gracious and forgiving. I always make sure I apologize when I ‘lose my cool’, so to speak. hahaha.
      When it comes to rules, I’m not a huge ‘rule maker’. I think boundaries are very important, but that it’s even more important to explain to them the ‘why’ of them, and to teach them to be responsible. To teach them to think and evaluate the pros and cons. To consider what consequences could come about from their actions and all. Am I making sense?… Haha. I hope so.
      Thanks a ton Yvette. Truly appreciate this thoughtful comment.
      Hope you’re having a lovely weekend and that the sun is shining where you are. It is here (with some clouds, but of course, it’s autumn).
      πŸ™‚ ❀

      • Hi – well we have had more rain! So much this month – but rolling with it!
        And yes – the “why” behind stuff is HUGE! And I did get what you were saying – awesome too! And two more things that has served me well is the a – the respect I give to people – including my kids – when mutual respect underscores the bond (in any relationship) people thrive in their roles that evolve – and then b. Communicating and talking – I am sure we all know this and we say to talk – but as I look back and even reflect in the now – talking in different capacities is so much!!

        Oh and having the Holy Spirit – now that is awesome – and juts recently bhad something important to bring up to my son…
        So I pondered it – and it was a little touchy –
        And so I gave it to God while chewing on the topic –
        And then out walking the dog – part of it came up and later the rest did – and voila – addressed it and praise God for the smooth way it unfolded – because a similar topic was touchy last fall and it was bumpy to talk about – and I guess with that whole we learn as we go – so I was more seasoned with my delivery – never perfect (ha!) but it feels good to sharpen skills and to apply past learning –
        And well – super grateful to parent and live life with the help of god’s Holy Spirit to counsel – comfort – guide – etc. especially because kids change every season and then sometimes so do we!
        Xxoo
        Love ya
        ❀️

      • That’s wonderful Yvette. That about your son and having to talk to him about something sticky. And you were very wise by being patient and giving it to God, and letting Him drop his thoughts in your mind. Awesome. I hope and pray that I would have the wisdom to do that, and be patient and wait on him for when I need to have ‘sticky’ talks with my kids too.
        Hey, I watched that Youtube video you did for the art’s show at your son’s school. It was great. How old is your son?
        Have a great week Y.
        Love and hugs
        πŸ™‚ ❀

      • one more thing – and forgive me if I said this before – but Joyce Meyer once shared that her son was griping about her parenting style – and she told him that “he had the chance to be improve upon what she has done…” and then she shared that she improved on what her parents did – I thought that was a nice answer….

  5. As parents none of us are perfect, but we absolutely must do the best we can at giving our children the best start possible. Some of us do overcome early childhood wounds but it usually takes help along the way to put it behind us and move on. Forgiveness is always easier than forgetting, and it is in our weakest moments that the hurt resurfaces and so must be dealt with again.
    πŸ™‚ ❀

    • Totally Natalie. And that’s just it – none of us are perfect. I think I know that about myself more than anybody. Hahaha. I’m big on apologizing and recognizing I’ve done wrong when it comes to my kids. I want them to know that I am not perfect, and that nobody is. I want them to realize that I will make mistakes, but that it’s important to own up to them and make things right.
      Oh yes, ‘early childhood wounds’. I did overcome them, thankfully. Natalie, I grew up in utter fear of my dad. I went through the wringer in my 20s because I was so messed up. God had to slowly, patiently and graciously re-wire my thinking and heart. I remember one day, God showed me that I feared him just like I used to fear my dad. I honestly don’t know what it means to ‘love’ or feel affectionately towards my dad (as I can see how my daughter feels toward my husband). And the funny thing is that I wasn’t bitter at all. I never knew what it was to have a healthy relationship with him, so I never lost anything ‘good’ (so to speak). I never really had to deal with any bitterness toward him, but God had to really work in me when it came to trusting him and his goodness. It was really tough, but oh so worth it. I’m so thankful that He never gave up on me.
      Thank you for your wonderful comment Natalie.
      Love and hugs.
      πŸ™‚ ❀

  6. Staci, β€œCaged Bird” is a beautifully sad poem, yet full of hope. Your artwork is stunning, it complements for your words perfectly. Change in mind set takes time and it can be quite painful, wonderfully stated in your first stanza.

    This is a huge topic that you have touched on, much larger than one might think. It’s extremely heartbreaking and the numbers of those adversely affected, staggering. I commend you for addressing this, because it’s not pretty and there are no quick fixes to the problems or solutions. And yes like you, I believe that the scars can be carried for life. Excellent post my friend, one to think deeply about.

    Please enjoy your evening and have a wonderful Friday. Always wishing you and your foot the very best. ~ Mia πŸ™‚ ❀

    • Mia, thank you so much for your wonderful comment and insightful read of my post. Thank you also for the kind words of appreciation and encouragement.
      I wrote this poem a while back. It just came to me. It was one of those poems that was a sudden thing. The initial idea came from the expression I read somewhere of a caged bird. After writing it, I see that it is the story of myself (although ‘I’ didn’t even cross my mind when writing it). I was that caged bird. And it did take a long time to finally get to a place of actual holistic health (at the risk of sounding like airy fairy hahaha). When I say holistic, I mean to be healthy and free in every sense of the word. Not just physically, but emotionally, mentally and spiritually. My upbringing was far from healthy, having grown up with an alcoholic father that I was constantly frightened of. At any rate, I went through the wringer during my 20s, but thankfully I came through it a stronger person. And not only stronger, but secure in who I am and happy and content. Like we have conversed in the past, we are constantly changing, right. πŸ™‚ Some change for the good, and some change for the bad, unfortunately. Some never do deal with their crap (for lack of a better word haha) and it eats away at them like a cancer. Literally until becoming physically ill.
      I love how you said, ‘there are no quick fixes.’ It is so true. It really does take time. Patience, tears and time.
      Hope you’re enjoying your Saturday and may Sunday be relaxing and fun.
      πŸ™‚ ❀

      • I want to thank you Staci, for your remarkable reply. It’s divine when a poem seems to write itself, I think we’re lucky to hear the message at that moment, if we hurry we can write it down. I find these types of writings to be quite personal and usually very insightful.

        I’m sad to read about your experiences. Thank goodness for the resiliency of the human spirit. Rewiring the behaviors learned during a less than favorable childhood is hard work and a long road to find a β€œholistic” existence, as you said, β€œPatience, tears and time.” I’m delighted to read that you are stronger, more secure, happy and content.

        Wishing you a wonderful evening and please have a marvelous Sunday. ~ Mia πŸ™‚ ❀

      • Thank you so much Mia. And yes, I agree. It is amazing when sudden inspiration happens.
        “I think we’re lucky to hear the message at that moment, if we hurry we can write it down.”
        –This reminds me of something Elizabeth Gilbert said in one of her Ted Talk speeches. She was talking about some woman that would run to catch the words before they got lost (something like that – haha. here’s the link if interested: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=86x-u-tz0MA).
        Once again, please have a wonderful week.
        πŸ™‚ ❀

      • Staci, I want to thank you as always for a wonderful reply and for the fabulous TED Talks video. I enjoyed it very much. I love how Elizabeth Gilbert describes her meeting with Ruth Stone. It was great to hear someone else describe this experience of hurrying to get something to write with in order to capture the words before they get away. Now even more so, I believe there is truly something magical and divine about this, how else can you explain it? Thank you, have a wonderful week as well. ~ Mia πŸ™‚ ❀

      • Mia, I did not get this last message of yours in my notifications.
        I’m so glad you enjoyed that Ted Talk. I loved it myself when I first watched it. Of course I don’t believe there are genies in the walls and all, but I think it’s pretty amazing, some of the things Gilbert shared.
        I see you’ve posted and I’ve opened up to it. I will try to get to it this afternoon, but if I’m unable to, without fail, tomorrow.
        I hope you are having a great week.
        πŸ™‚ ❀

  7. It is a beautiful way in which you have emphasized the child’s way to communicate given to by nurturing which builds a child stable emotionally for the Society and to confront challenges in a better way.
    The sensitive souls should be nurtured to be care takers one day. πŸ™‚

    • That’s beautiful Sagarika. Yes, these sensitive souls should be nurtured and cared for every day.
      Hope you having a wonderful weekend, and thank you so much for your kind and considerate comment.
      πŸ™‚ ❀

  8. Beautiful words of expression. I had a pretty good childhood, but with the sudden death of my dad when I was 15, and then bullied in high school (no protection for the bullied back then…lol) it has literally taken decades to have a healthy self esteem return.
    Totally agree with your quote from Livestrong (it is often my go-to site on health and wellness! πŸ™‚

    • Hi Carl, so nice to see you. And thank you for your kind words and lovely comment.
      I’m so sorry it took you decades to have a healthy self-esteem. I also went through some pretty rough bumps. Went through the wringer in my 20s. Had a lot of issues to deal with. Growing up with a verbally abusive, alcoholic father really took a tole on me and my development. Thankfully, God graciously brought me through it all, and now I am secure in who I am, and confident in who He has made me to be.
      I also like Livestrong. I’m on their mailing list.
      Hope you’re having a lovely weekend, and that you are getting some warmer and sunny weather there in Canada. I know that even in May it can still be a bit chilly at times. But then again, I wear a scarf in 15 degree weather. hahaha.
      πŸ™‚

  9. Staci,
    Beautiful art and poem. And yes, I agree with the article’s quote. One of my favorite poems, that has been on my fridge sine kids were born and will continue to be on my mind states amongst many other things:
    “If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence.
    If children live with tolerance, they learn patience.
    If children live with praise, they learn appreciation.
    If children live with acceptance, they learn to love.”
    If you want to read the full version you may find it on this page:
    http://www.empowermentresources.com/info2/childrenlearn-long_version.html

    Enjoy your weekend beautiful soul!!
    ❀ Dajena

    • Dajena, please forgive me for such a late reply. I actually did not receive your comment in my notifications. I only saw it because I went right into the post itself.
      Oh yes, that’s a great poem. I have read it before, and it truly does say it all, doesn’t it?
      Thank you so much for sharing it and for your kind words.
      Have a lovely afternoon and evening.
      πŸ™‚ ❀

  10. As a caged bird myself, it took 61 years to stop hearing my dad’s voice whispering in my ear, “You dizzy a-hole”. My wings were broken but I grew a second pair….stronger than the first but deformed. And a wall grew around my heart and love would just bounce off of it but somehow pain could still seep in. My head knew the Truth but my heart could not feel His love. Then one day, the Jericho wall came down and His love was felt and no matter what I suffer today, the heart-knowledge that He loves me never leaves. I’m afraid the wall is still standing for human love and I don’t know how to call that wall down (and I am not even sure I want to because then the pain can come rushing in along with the love and I don’t know if it is worth it).
    I “messed-up” my own child by doing the exact opposite of my parents. I “smothered” her with love and accolades and few rules (but she was an exceptionally good child-teen-young adult, no problems with her at all until she got married and then all hell broke loose). I tried to save her from all the pain and suffering and disappointment that I had gone through but I never allowed her to “grow”. She was “caged” in a different cage but still caged. I guess we parents do what we think is best for our children but so often it comes back to “bite us in the butt”!

    • Hey Robin, I’m so sorry for your pain. My dad was also verbally abusive. God brought me through a lot. I didn’t really have bitterness or resentment. I just never had affection from or toward him. A lot of lies in my mind that needed to be dealt with though. I guess it really does affect how we raise our own children too. I was fortunate enough to marry only shortly before turning 30. And being that I became a Christian shortly after I turned 20, I had 10 years of healing under my belt already, thankfully. It was tough though. I’m so thankful to finally be where I am now.
      I’m so sorry to hear about your daughter. Did she end up marrying someone that doesn’t treat her well?
      Keep seeking Him Robyn. Our lives here are filled with pain and difficulties, but our hope isn’t in this world, is it?
      Bless you
      πŸ™‚ ❀

  11. This poem will stuck with me–in a way I saw myself as that caged bird. I especially like the last part of the poem–it’s very encouraging. I agree 100% that childhood is a crucial time in one’s life and what occurs during those years can shape one’s life, especially their behavior, forever. Although children can face negative experiences outside of their family, I believe that makes it even more important for parents to create of supportive foundation–place for children, where they feel they can turn to for support, love, and strength, therefore becoming equipped to overcome negativity that they will face beyond their families.

    • HI Crystal. It’s funny, because this poem was one of those ‘sudden inspiration’ ones. I didn’t have to work hard on it or think too much. When I read it now, I can totally see myself in it. I was that caged bird, but I also have recognized my colors now and am free. Yeah!
      My childhood was difficult. I living in fear of my dad, until we left him. I even had physical reaction in my body because of my fear. More than 50 little bumps appeared on my hand as a reaction to the anxiety. 6 months after we left him, they had disappeared.
      Have a great week Crystal.
      πŸ™‚ ❀

      • Thanks for sharing this Staci–I’m glad that you were able to leave that situation and find healing. I’m especially am glad that you were able to turn a bad situation into a positive one through your work πŸ™‚

      • Thank you so much for the encouraging words Crystal. I’m so thankful for healing. I was a real mess. Thankfully, by the grace of God, I am who I am now.
        Many blessings to you for a wonderful rest of the week.
        πŸ™‚ ❀

  12. A fact u prove time and again Staci, u r “BRILLIANT”.
    How easily u brought such a compelling and profound thought …the colors says murkiness and still manage to leave a whole door of hope…thats ‘intelligent and intriguing’ πŸ™‚
    The reader will continue to switch between the art work and the poem…its ur hold

  13. I agree to some extent. Stephen Pinker has some interesting things to say on the subject in his book The Blank Slate in which he postulates that there are three factors in the development of human character/personality: genes, parents and peers and that their respective contribution is 50%, 0% and 50%. He describes the science and research around this claim too. But, that said, personal experience of childhood can give an entirely different picture.
    I read a book by Deepak Chopra that give a lot of hope in this direction. He says that we can reprogram our memories of childhood by asking others who were there at the time and incorporating as many different point of views as possible into the experience, thus taking much of the sting out of memories. This isn’t to advocate forgiving or excusing those that abuse us as children (that’s a whole other story), but it does give hope for those who are still suffering from the scars of things from long ago.
    Sorry – I didn’t come here to do this, I actually just came to say hello!
    I’m Robert (from York – in England) and I met you on Advaita’s blog. Hi! (waggles fingers shyly) πŸ™‚

    • Hey Robert. Hahaha @Sorry – I didn’t come here to do this, I actually just came to say hello! No problem. I like to hear what others have to say.
      I, for one, don’t agree with the 50%, 0%, 50%. I think parents have a huge role in the development of a child. If there was no one to teach a child in the way they should go, we would have anarchy on our hands. Just saying… Hahaha.
      Interesting, this thing of Deepak Chopra. The brain is an amazing organ which can do extraordinary things. I’m sure that one could do something like that. I had a troubled upbringing with my dad, but I never really had resentment or bitterness. My memories of him don’t bother me, and I have forgiven him for not being a good and present father, and for his harsh treatment and alcoholism. I am glad to say that I am so content and free today. It seems that each year that passes, the more content and free I am.
      So nice to meet you Robert, and thank you for your comment.
      Please have a wonderful day (or evening being that you are in the UK.)
      πŸ™‚

  14. HI Staci, thanks for your Heather Weiss quote. I suspect the art of nurturing relationships is the craft of becoming a healthy family. At my stage of life, it is heart-warming to have adult conversations with my grown children talking about their childhood: the ways we catapulted them forward – and the ways we hurt them, however inadvertently. Somehow this becomes the stew of family life that fortifies them and becomes the stories they share with their children. I am amazed though, how much grace is needed for whatever family life emerges. We do our best; we hardly know what we are doing; we fail and succeed; and if we listen with faith, we may be blessed to hear the echo of Proverbs 31:28. Grace to you.

    • Wonderful comment Rusty, and thank you so much for sharing this. I love how you mentioned how ‘we hardly know what we are doing; we fail and succeed.’ That has been my experience so far. I was so ignorant of what it meant to be a parent and raise a child when my first was born. It is truly amazing how we grow through our experiences. I am very pleased with the culture we have created, and are creating within our family and home. It’s unique to us, and it works. Being from Canada, married to a Brazilian and living in a community setting on a mission’s base truly does make for a whole different type of experience than how I grew up. I’m loving it.
      Thanks again Rusty, and please have a lovely rest of the week.
      πŸ™‚

  15. I agree fully. Having watched a lot of crime movies, it is apparent that those who commit such heinous crimes are normally those who have had a troubled childhood.

    • Alok, thank you for your comment and for sharing what you did. It is truly unfortunate to see these crimes committed by those that haven’t had the blessing of a loving home and proper upbringing. My childhood was tumultuous, but thankfully, by the grace of God, I had a complete turn around at the age of 20. I’ve suffered a lot, and grown a lot, but it was all for my good. I am truly thankful for that.
      Please have a wonderful rest of the week.
      πŸ™‚

  16. From personal experience, it’s important to raise kids with lots of love and care, give them a nutritive environment. Sometimes parents have to scold or give a slap or two and sometimes even kick but the important thing is to let the kid know why it happened… If the kids are left alone after being beaten it’s worst, it gives them a loneliness, a aloof nature which only gives ways to dark times if not taken care of. But yes it can turn into a good time too if there’s a good hand involved with the kids… If you want better relationship with your kids when they have grown up, better show them that you care. Love. Care. is often neglected in daily grinds and when kids go bad they are blamed for being bad… But it’s like nature’s relationship with plants.

    Well, sorry this drew long, I am actually writing on this and will publish soon. I hope for a better worlds where kids and parents have strong relationships.

    • I agree that it’s important to let them know why it’s happened. They are still people. They need loving care, even though the love needs to be ‘tough love’ at times. I don’t think that kicking would be a good idea though. But definitely they must be disciplined to learn right from wrong. If not, caos happen, right?
      Haha, no problem at all @this drew long. That’s what I strive for through blogging. 1) A place to share what I create, and 2) Relationship with others.
      So glad to meet you Hemangini. I will be by soon to check out your blog ok.
      πŸ™‚

      • Yes true, kids are just kids and they need to be loved more then they need our anger.. Blogging has brought me a whole new level of reading and learning from others.. Really appreciate it. it’s fun.

        It’s okay, take your time. πŸ™‚ Have a wonderful day…

  17. Staci, don’t feel bad, I didn’t get a notification that you replied either. Oh you’ve got to love WordPress, huh? πŸ™‚ Thank you again for sending the link my way. It was a quite an enjoyable. I agree no genies. I see that you have posted, I will be over tomorrow. Thank you for the lovely wishes, now I can wish you a wonderful Thursday evening! ~ Mia πŸ™‚ ❀

    • Ohhhh, haha. Mia, I have your latest post, ‘Ether’ opened up on my computer, but I still haven’t found the time to read it (you know I like to take my time with your posts πŸ™‚ ). I have had quite a busy week actually, and even now, I just got in the door (at 9:26). Now to get the kids fed and into bed. Haha.
      Yes, gotta love WP licks.
      Oh yes, speaking of genies, I actually used a quote from that talk of hers and mentioned the genies in my last post. Hahaha.
      See you tomorrow, and you also have a wonderful evening.
      πŸ™‚ ❀

  18. Childhood plays a big part of who we become as adults. I think it’s totally possible for parents to break their children, mentally. However, there are cases where people have the perfect childhood and yet are still “broken”. Perhaps they were in a relationship and that person broke their heart and they where never the same. Point being, I think people break people young or old and sometimes those people unfortunately happen to be family.

    • Hi Classy Queeny, so nice to meet you. Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts on this. I’m so sorry it’s taken me a while to respond. It’s because I’ve been on a break. I should be back to blogging a bit here and there (at least until to November) by next week.
      I totally think that childhood plays a huge role in shaping a child into who they will become. I do, however, believe that it goes much deeper than that. There are many that have had good and healthy upbringings, but somehow become very broken along the way. So many factors come into place here. Not only personally, for any given individual, but also sociologically.
      “I think people break people young or old”
      –Completely agree. I believe that we are a fallen people and live in a broken and fallen world. Pain and suffering (as well as evil) are inevitable. Sad but true.
      I’m so glad you shared here CQ. I like it when the conversation goes a bit deeper.
      I’ll be by soon to check out your blog.
      Take care. πŸ™‚ ❀

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