Teaching someone to fly an opportunity and privilege

Sunday, August 29, 2010

From infancy on, the boy was in trouble. He was a good boy, but he couldn't seem to get things together. At times, his parents felt like pulling out their hair. Johnny had to try everything -- smoking in grade school, ordering a pizza after his family went to bed. Johnny tried a multitude of jobs, but he was unable to find his niche. He became severely depressed. Johnny seemed to never be able to find a job or position that suited him.

Nevertheless, his mother loved him through it all. She could see his potential. Rather than throwing up her hands and saying "I give up," she kept to the task at hand and tried to persuade him to get a college education after he finally graduated from high school. That was an achievement in itself.

His mother believed in tough love, to a point. If he flunked classes in college, he must pay to retake them. She was attempting to teach him about actions and consequences and the value of money. Mom was trying to encourage Johnny, restoring his confidence so he could eventually fly.

Johnny finally found and married a girl, Jessica, who fit his personality and whom he loved very much. She stood by him, giving him encouragement to do what he truly liked. With Jessica's love and encouragement, he found himself. She gave him a reason to strive for his goal. He teaches now and is a wonderful husband and father as well. Jessica helped teach him to fly.

I know a little girl who's 3. Callie is headstrong and believes in perseverance. Her parents believe she will always be an uncontrollable person, but I see all her great qualities. When you praise her and she feels like she's pleasing you, she explodes with charm.

Callie is truly a diamond that has yet to be discovered. You can't help but notice how intelligent she is. She is also able to show she cares and express empathy. Rather than criticized, her stubborn ways need to be channeled toward positive aspirations.

Callie needs to be shown she's wonderful -- her endearing and smart qualities brought out. With the patience of others, I can, indeed see her soaring.

Everyone has to learn to fly. Some have to learn on their own because they fail to gain another person's endorsement. Others are fortunate enough to have strong support systems.

Teaching someone to fly is an opportunity and privilege in which everybody can engage.

When you tell a sick person, with conviction, that he will recover, you might be lifting his spirits causing him to fight harder to get better. You are teaching him to fly within his emotions and his heart, perhaps physically, too. "A merry heart does good like a medicine," says Proverbs 17:22.

A young man named Max enlisted in the military. In reality he performed well, but he refused to admit his ideal dreams in service were possible. Instead he limited himself by conjuring up obstacles. Nevertheless, his parents, especially, encouraged him. Other people assured him he would realize his ambition.

The comments and confidence-building statements offered were the remedy for his disbelief.

Family and friends helped him learn to fly by bolstering his faith in himself. His aspirations are now coming to fruition and he takes the declaration in Philippians 4:13 -- "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" -- seriously while he continues his journey.

Who can you help learn how to fly?

Ellen Shuck holds degrees in psychology, religious education and spiritual direction and provides spiritual direction to people at her office.

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