Wings: Take Off Troubles

If you have flown in an airplane more than once, you have likely had the frustrating experience of loading onto the plane only to be told that for some reason the flight is being delayed.  Weather, baggage, engines, flight crews, a delayed connecting flight–all of these can be the trouble that prevents take-off.

This time of the year, I have a different kind of take off trouble in mind.  I see seniors in the high school where I work and even college seniors that I know, experiencing their own take off troubles that have little to do with the weather or engines.  They just might have some correspondence to flight crews, connecting flights and baggage, however.

At this time of the year, young people have reached those places in their lives when they are supposed to fly off into the next phase of their lives.  They are, mostly, excited and joyful about  the prospect of finishing some aspect of their education and the changes that are about to happen for them.  Invariably, they run into take off troubles.

Flight crews.  The fact is, however prepared young people are for graduation, they don’t have much experience flying in the world as adults, and that can leave them hesitant and their parents and other adults who care about them frightened.  Connecting flights.  Much of the trouble I see young adults having comes in the form of making the needed connections in new places for housing, jobs, support networks, etc.  The unknown in each of these areas can cause sudden flight troubles.  Baggage. The baggage that most young new flyers carry is really precious stuff.  Those of us who are their parents, teachers and other adults who care for them have spent so much of our time trying to help them stay grounded that as they prepare to take off,  much of what we have to offer in the moment just seems to weigh them down.  It’s a necessary struggle–the young person and the adults around him/her must find a way to drop the unnecessary baggage and prepare for take off.  The take off is going to happen.  It may even be a rough flight.  Everyone will learn from it.

This year, as I watch the young prepare to fly, I wonder how long it’s been since I just flew a bit, for the joy of flying.  What would flying, today, mean for you?  Is there baggage to let go of?  Our next best experiences could be awaiting at the other end of that flight.

Bob Patrick

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