I have suspected for several years now that chickens may be among the least intelligent organisms in creation, below paramecia and perhaps just above chalk dust. (Is chalk dust an organism?) Imagine my surprise when we went to the bird show at Hogle Zoo, and they had a "trained" chicken. I put that word in quotes because its routine wasn't terribly impressive.
The show consisted mostly of parrots answering questions and various large raptors flying over the audience low enough to knock the top hats off the people wearing them—which was no one, fortunately. The chicken's trick was walking from one side of the stage to the other at apparently random times during the show. For the highlight of the performance, it "danced." I put that word in quotes because, well, it didn't exactly do the chicken dance, if you know what I mean. Basically, it just scratched around in the dirt. Pretty much like chickens normally do, except it did it at a certain time. Then the trainer told it to exit stage right—about half a dozen times. All this while there was probably another trainer trying to lure it offstage with a strawberry or something.
All in all, I was still impressed by how well the chicken performed, considering. I think the secret is training it to do something that kind of came naturally to begin with. Maybe that wisdom can be applied to raising children. Perhaps I should try using their natural proclivities instead of trying to get them to learn things that are completely against their nature.
I'll start teaching them to never flush the toilet, to fight with each other every opportunity they get, to put non-food objects in their mouths, and avoid actual food with the exception of desserts. Then I'll go to sleep at night knowing I'm a complete success as a parent.