Flight: Roots and Wings

 “Making the decision to have a child  – it’s momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.” Elizabeth Stone

Our son, Davin, was six years old when we put him on an airplane to fly as an “unaccompanied minor” from Atlanta to Cleveland to spend a week with his grandparents. There we were with our heart FLYING around outside our body!

It was not Davin’s first time on an airplane, but we did take precautions. We walked him to the gate and onto the airplane, making sure the flight attendants were completely aware of him. We left feeling assured he was in good hands (oh how they coddled him!). Russ’ parents were at the gate to take Davin off the plane. We have a picture of him in the cockpit with the captain, Davin smiling “out loud.” He had earned his wings … those little plastic lapel pin wings … and wore them proudly.

We wanted our son to have roots and wings. We intentionally gave him a strong sense of family roots as well as the roots of religious community that would provide a network of support throughout his life. As an only child, it was important to us that he know his family is much larger than the three of us.

We knew that experiences of competency and resilience would make his wings strong. We gave him the space to take risks; to succeed and to fail. He’ll be thirty years old this year. In January he flew “solo” to Japan and back. I suspect that little six-year old boy was with him, full of the excitement and some of the fear that comes with stepping off the edge and spreading your wings to fly.

What risks have you taken that allowed you to soar? What network of support caught you when winds shifted and you fell to the ground? How do you help those around you to develop their roots and grow their wings … to create networks of support where they can both succeed and fail?

Jan Taddeo



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