The Flamingos in Philadelphia! - A Dose of Encouragement

Every time we hear the word "Flamingos" we think of a certain person.

Every time we see a flamingo on television we think of a certain person.

Yes "flamingo" = Fred.

It all stems back to many years ago (in fact 20 years ago) before we returned to Northern Ireland from living in Delaware, USA.

We went one day to visit Philadelphia Zoo and had a great time as we all liked to visit Zoos to see the animals.

The kids were between 7 and 12 years old so you can imagine some of the excitement they showed especially when they saw what they considered to be their favourite animals - cheetahs, turtles etc.

Fred and I don't particularly have favourite animals although I do like elephants and pandas and definitely do not like snakes (which you might remember if you read "I Don't Want to Pet a Snake!"  from April this year).

Well after this visit the kids just loved to tease Fred that the "Animatronic Pink Flamingos" were his favourite animals.


Walking around the Zoo we had come to a large pond or lake where there were many flamingos and you have guessed it they were Pink.

As you may know about flamingos they can stand very still and this is exactly what they were doing when we arrived at their location.  We stood and watched and then a few of them moved very slowing and gracefully but did not move very much.

Fred could not resist telling the children that these flamingos were not real ones but were actually animatronic ones.  Immediately we all said "no they're not" a few times but Fred stood there looking very serious and proclaimed "Of course, they were" and then went on to explain why he thought so.

Well we had been to some Theme parks and the kids were familiar with this word "animatronic" and they just stared at the flamingos and the longer they stared the more unsure they became and did not know whether to believe their dad or not.

Still to this day Fred will just laugh and say that he was right but of course we all know he wasn't.

So that is how hearing about flamingos or seeing flamingos always makes us laugh and think of Fred and generally one of the kids will say "Are they animatronic dad?"

That animal is now associated with Fred and we cannot get that association out of our heads.

It's not bad, in fact it's a nice association; bringing up a reminder of the happy shared memory we have as a family.

Other associations are not so nice and can bring back hurtful memories or angry memories and once the association is in our minds we may never be able to get rid of it.

Sometimes our associations can even come from our first impressions of people because of the words we heard or the action we saw even if those were taken out of context or not heard or seen in full.

Or sometimes an association can suddenly be forged after knowing someone for a long time but some action or word now conjures up bad thoughts about that former friend.

We need to be careful to not throw away a friendship.

A friend can end up no longer being a friend because of some small thing that you just cannot get out of your mind about them but about which they may not even know.

We may have overheard/been told something that was not the full information or was almost a complete fabrication and now a relationship is destroyed.

We need to be careful to not throw away a friendship or alienate a family member because we have changed in our opinion of them due to some association we now have in our minds.

The only way to do this is to ask God to help us keep our minds pure and to not jump to conclusions.
Always stop and think.

The only way to do this is to ask God to help us keep our minds pure and to not jump to conclusions.

Let's ask ourselves why our friends would suddenly seem to be almost the opposite to what we had already known them to be.

Does one thing mean that they have changed?

It should take more than one incident, sentence or thing to change the character of a person, and it would take a period of time for a major change.

Then what about how we perceive the incident?

We can let that change us instantly - not a thoughtful, Godly way of behaving is it?

So should we believe that our friends would change so quickly?

Maybe we are the ones in which the change is taking place and not our friends.


  1. You're spot-on, Sandra. All too often we let overheard words and other people's opinions cloud our good sense and sour a relationship with someone else. The older I get, the more I realize that we really know so very little about each other and at all times we need to offer grace--because after all, we receive grace on a daily basis.

  2. You're spot on, Sandra. All too often we let other's opinions sour our opinions. What we really need to do is to extend grace to each other at all times. After all, God constantly extends grace to us.

  3. It is good to overlook a fault in our friends, and tell ourselves perhaps they are just having a "bad hair day." When we learn to "walk" in forgiveness, we can pass over those irritating things that could cause us to loose a friendship. I loved your story of the pink flamingos. My daughter had a plastic flamingo given to her as a joke gift, and she kept it in her back yard to enjoy. Thank you for your lovely story and good words to live by shared here at Tell me a Story.

  4. Sandra, good encouragement you share, to remember that we ought not to rush to conclusions when we've been hurt or when something seems to have changed concerning our friendships.
    As a side note, I always think of our eldest daughter when I see flamingoes. She was probably 3 yrs old when she first saw them at the zoo and called them "blingoes". Now we always tease her and point to the blingoes. It's a great word association that brings a smile to our faces every time.
    Nice to have found you on #TellHisStory :-)

  5. Sandra, love the truth contained in this post and the analogy with flamingos...many blessings to you

  6. Love the flamingo analogy.

  7. Love the flamingo analogy, Sandra! Thank you for this encouragement! #livefree

  8. Asking the Holy Spirit for discernment when confronted with rumor and innuendo is always the way to go♪

  9. Great post! Thank you for sharing it at the #SmallVictoriesSundayLinkup!

  10. That is so true. I enjoyed your flamingo story. Very timely. I read in the paper this week that the man behind the fake flamingos people stick in their yards died.

  11. This is such a great post, Sandra! It is so funny that many years later, you all can laugh and remember about flamingos. It is very hard to associate something hurtful with someone but we are called to forgive in the Bible, and you shared this beautfiully. Thank you for sharing this encouraging post on friendship with #SocailButterflySunday. Hope you will link up again this Sunday :)

  12. Great analogy about flamingos! I'll remember this one! Thanks for sharing with us at #RaRaLinkup today...

  13. This is so true, Sandra. People usually don't know what we're thinking and may not even know we're upset. What funny story about your family and the flamingos! Loved it. Thank you for sharing.

  14. Anonymous18:29

    You had me laughing and then thinking. No, people don't change overnight!

  15. Sandra - such a great post and love the connection with how we associate people with certain things. My take aways - - People don't change over night & Ask God to help us keep our hearts pure and not jump to conclusions! Blessings - visiting from Thought Provoking Thursday.

  16. You are just fabulous, girl!

    I love your flamingo story and how it made me think.

    The facts were cool, too. I didn't know about the color change!

    Thanks for a fun (and thoughtful) link for the letter F.


  17. I love the flamingo story! We have a story (quite embarrassing for me) but it is something we three can giggle about to this day. Thank you for linking up with Thankful Thursdays.

  18. Perceptions are everything and your flamingo story illustrated this well. We are quick to look at the outside and not take the time to further dig into the inside with friendships or other things in our lives. We can be mistaken too many times as a result. Hope you have a great weekend.

  19. First-- love the story about your hubs and animatronic! Made me grin (and sounds like something my family would do!) Secondly, I so appreciate the analogy. Very creative (and applicable.)

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