Are you incubating a Cuckoo?

Cuckoos are one of the species that lays its eggs in other birds’ nests. A non-Cuckoo incubates the Cuckoo egg. When the baby cuckoo hatches, it demands the lion’s share of the food. It also has a tendency to push out the other babies. As a result, the mother bird wastes her energy raising a bird that not only does not carry her genes, but will also lay its eggs in more nests, destroying yet future generations. From this image we get the concept of being Cuckolded where a man’s wife gets pregnant by another man, so the husband raises a child totally unrelated to him. A concept of much greater importance in England of a few centuries ago than now.

I thought about this as I watched my children grow up. Their first years were ones where the marriage was decent. During that time, we were incubating healthy children. Their friends were children from other healthy families. Then the marriage hit rocky times. The house was filled with anger and arguments. The children were on edge. The older ones started smoking because it soothed their nerves. Soon their friends came from the most dysfunctional families. The children were completely different. It was like we were incubating cuckoos.

After the divorce, I began to research how this system operated. I realized that the parents grew up in dysfunctional households. They received little or no sense of worth from their parents. They developed defense mechanisms to manipulate the world around them into giving themselves value and worth. The defense mechanisms were deep seated and typically bring panic at the thought of changing or admitting their own wrong. They bring the problems into the world of their own children. Their own children develop their own and frequently totally different defense mechanisms. Truly, the Bible is right when it says the sins of the fathers are visited onto the sons to the third and fourth generation. (Ex 34:7, Num 14:18)

As I searched, I realized that there were many defense mechanisms the children developed to regain a sense of control over their lives. Some were comedians. Robin Williams was an extremely funny man. By being funny, he received tremendous positive feedback, but had a huge negative feeling toward himself and eventually took his life. I have friends who are hypochondriacs or deliberate failures, trying to force others to take care of them, but complain when others get tired of always rescuing them but never seeing them get back on their feet. I know people who are perfectionists, hoping for praise. Others are rebels, seeking worth from their rebel “family.” Some people deliberately get on others nerves, because their instinct told that that they would be in control of anyone they could upset.

I wanted to incubate love, peace, joy, etc. in my children. I didn’t want to raise the cuckoos of strife, bitterness, and anger. After the divorce, I set about to learn what was my mechanisms, both things I did to others and ways I left open for others to control me. God wants to heal us, but He waits until we are willing to be healed. Luke 13:34 “Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, just as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not have it! 35 Behold, your house is left to you desolate.” It is not easy. In fact, it is very scary to open up about such deep seated wounds. If you will not, your house will be left desolate. If you are willing to let the gentle Physician in to heal, you will no longer incubate the cuckoos of anger, wrath, and malice in your children.

6 thoughts on “Are you incubating a Cuckoo?

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  1. Insightful post. It’s not easy to do differently than what background and life has shaped us, but with God all things are possible. But it has to be ‘with God’.


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