Canaries with Gray on Their Wings

From “Canaries with Gray on Their Wings,” Ensign, June 2010, 4.

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Canaries with Gray on Their Wings

While I was serving as a young bishop, Sister McKee, a widow in my ward, passed away. Among her things were three pet canaries. Two, with perfect yellow coloring, were to be given to her friends. The third, Billie, had yellow coloring marred by gray on his wings. Sister McKee had written in a note to me: “Will you and your family make a home for Billie? He isn’t the prettiest, but his song is the best.”

Sister McKee was much like her yellow canary with gray on its wings. She was not blessed with beauty, gifted with poise, or honored by posterity. Yet her song helped others to more willingly bear their burdens.

We are sons and daughters of a living God in whose image we have been created. Think of that: created in the image of God.

In our world, moral character ofttimes seems secondary to beauty or charm. But from long ago the Lord’s counsel to Samuel the prophet echoes: “The Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).

When the Savior sought a man of faith, He did not select him from the throng of the self-righteous who were found regularly in the synagogue. Rather, He called him from among the fishermen of Capernaum. Doubting, unschooled, impetuous Simon became Peter, Apostle of faith. A yellow canary with gray on his wings qualified for the Master’s full confidence and abiding love.

The Redeemer calls you and me to serve Him here below. May a true song come from our hearts as we do so.

Dig Deeper

To better understand President Monson’s message, match the highlighted words with their correct meanings.



A Jewish house of worship



Acting suddenly, without careful thought

Moral character


Less important



Spoiled or ruined



All future generations












Making right choices

Sing Your Sweetest Song

Some people feel they are not as beautiful or as smart as others. But each person is valuable to the Lord. We can be faithful and brave and use our talents to serve others. Then we are like the yellow canary with gray on its wings. We are not perfect, but we are singing our sweetest song!

Color the picture of Sister McKee and her special canary. Then write down three ways you can sing your sweetest song for the Lord.

I can sing my sweetest song for the Lord by:

  1. 1.


  2. 2.


  3. 3.


woman and canary(click to view larger)

Illustration by Maryn Roos