Teamwork: From now on if someone calls me chicken . . .

Mother hen with baby chicks

From now on if someone calls me “chicken,” I'll take that as a huge compliment.

For any person – especially a male – being called chicken is a searing insult. But not for me. Not anymore.

Not after what I witnessed. Here’s the back story.

It was a summer afternoon on my vacation in Kauai. I was on the patio feeding a mother hen and her five baby chicks bits of wheat bread. They run wild on the Hawaiian island and are protected by state law.

I got to the place where the baby chicks eagerly ate out of my hand.

Then I fed a chunk to Mama Hen and she dropped it on the ground. Immediately one of the chicks snatched it and ran off. I thought Mama Hen had a strange medical condition and couldn’t hold onto her food.

But repeatedly she would take the bread bits from my hand and then drop them for the chicks. I know chickens are always hungry or ready to eat. But not Mama Hen.

She fed the chicks first.

But then – Papa Rooster marched on over. He was puffing his colorful chest and crowing. I was betting he would eat his share first.

I guess I was projecting my own selfishness. He, too, picked up the bread bit and then dropped it for the chicks.

I was humbled. Taking care of the hungry scrambling little ones came first. For both of them.

Nature’s lesson created a sinking feeling in my stomach. I preach teamwork for couples. I also preach restricting the “me first” attitude that is lethal in marriages. And I instinctively and harshly judged both Mama Hen and Papa Rooster.

If they would have tolerated it, I would’ve hugged the whole brood.

In that moment, enjoying life on a patio in Hawaii, I witnessed a lesson of giving when it is not convenient or easy. Putting food in your mouth and then giving it away even if you are hungry.

Call me a chicken now, and I will conjure up a scene of generous giving – and aspire to do better when it is not easy.

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Thank you!


Great blog. My partner pointed it out. We met september last year. Read everything. As we both have CEN which she is dealing with already for years and years and let mee see my problems too. After 1/2y I finally opened my eyes this week and start reading and studying complete days to improve myself. So I still make some timing (saying my feelings at wrong moment in conversation) and communication (interrupting) errors I hope its not too late but I have a really bad feeling it is as I have broken her trust and she doesnt want to be caretaker in assisting. She applauds my initiative but cant promise anything as she was hinting already half a year ago but I didnt see it so didnt do anything with it.
Thanks anyway

Peter Pearson, Ph.D.

Dr. Peter Pearson, Ph.D., Relationship & Teamwork Expert for Entrepreneur Couples Pete has been training and coaching couples to become a strong team since 1984 when he co-founded The Couples Institute with his psychologist wife, Dr. Ellyn Bader. Their popular book, “Tell Me No Lies,” is about being honest with compassion and growing stronger as a couple. Pete has been featured on over 50 radio and television programs including “The Today Show,” "Good Morning America,” and "CBS Early Morning News,” and quoted in major publications including “The New York Times,” “Oprah Magazine,” “Redbook,” “Cosmopolitan,” and “Business Insider.”

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