Summer holidays were always something to look forward to for our family. Dad was a train driver. In summer we would always travel as far away as possible on our free family rail tickets!
For several years, we headed down south to Devon & Cornwall. Ilfracombe, Baggy Point, Lands End, Cornish Pasties and ice cream with a big dollop of clotted cream on top are all fond memories. The beaches were always the very best!
We were staying in a caravan in Ilfracombe. That particular summer, dad took some time to share with me the intricacies of flying a kite. I recall going into a large field on the caravan site, and getting it ready to fly. I’d never flown a kite before, but he patiently taught me the rudimentary skills in order to get it to launch skyward.
We unravelled the string, and he showed me what I needed to do. Firstly though, he held the string and I was asked to throw the kite into the air, to catch the wind. It took some effort and persistence, but after a few attempts, the kite soared into the air. After watching it fly for a little while, he handed me the string. Like magic, as I tugged on the string and let out a little more and more length, it would soar higher and higher. It took some getting used to, but I just loved watching that kite glide gracefully in the air.
Since that day in 1972, I have flown several kites. I have also enjoyed some lovely occasions teaching my own children kite flying skills. One of the most powerful lessons I have learned in life I can trace back to that day, when I learned how to fly a kite.
Its as simple as this – as long as a kite is attached to a string, it will fly high up in the sky. You may think that since it is pulling and tugging on the string, that it would go higher if it was to be set free. But it is not so, if you let go of the string, it will just plummet to the earth. It seems odd that the very thing that keeps the kite down is actually what keeps it up.
And this is true not only of kites but of life.
There are many strings tied to us from our childhood. Those rules and regulations that seem to hold us down, are actually holding us up. In my childhood, I began to understand. Through life experience I grasped the value of obedience and compliance to rules and regulations. Obedience brings safety, peace and reassurance to one and all. Indeed obedience can be classified as a cure all, for a multitude of woes and challenges of society today. Our success or failure will depend upon personal self-discipline and observance to the rules of life.
When I obey, I begin to understand.
In our families, our homes, our communities and our professional working lives, lets be obedient to the laws, the regulations and the guiding principles (the strings) set up so that like the kite, we too can soar high in all of our earthly pursuits – whatever they may be.