Fathering & Flying (a kite)

Last Father’s Day I went for a walk along the Red River, a few blocks from our home, to meditate on being a father. As I left the house I felt the wind on my face, saw the leaves moving and was reminded of the pocket kite Thomas (our youngest son) had given me. Father’s Day seemed like an appropriate time to fly a gift from a son, so I  brought it along. When I got to an open space, along the river path with a strong enough wind, it went up to the full length of the string quite quickly. It’s satisfying and exhilarating getting a kite into the air, feeling that tug on the line and watching it dance in the sky…doing what it was made to be.

I began thinking about how fathering can be like kite flying. The most obvious similarity was how necessary something outside myself is crucial for the kite to fly – to be / do what it was created for. This kite is beautifully designed and flies easily. I got this picture off  – www.houseofmarbles.com webpage. pocket kiteHowever when it’s not flying it isn’t much more that a pile of colorful fabric. In the wind it becomes something more. The wind doesn’t depend on me and I have no control over the wind but when I cooperate with it … get the kite at the right angle, keeping tension on the string … the wind does most of the work and the kite soars, joyfully majestic. When the wind stops, there is nothing I can do and the kite falls – it’s still a kite just not as much. When the wind picks up again, I need to get into action – do my part. Sometimes I actually ran to keep it up … almost too much work for retired guy. I guess seeing it fly was important and worth the effort.

It’s challenging and encouraging to realize that, while the wind is crucial to a kite flying, it’s pretty obvious I am too. I need to maintain a firm grip on the string, always staying connected to the kite. Proper tension needs to be maintained by running or rhythmic pulling movements. If I don’t pay attention and let the string out too quick, or heaven forbid, let go of the string, the kite eventually crashes and becomes a pile of beautiful fabric – often damaged or stuck in a tree, still a kite, but not really. Even after a crash I have an important role. Recovering it from where it lands, untangling the lines, getting it ready for the next soar. When the kite is in the air again, I need to pay attention to how close it’s getting to trees, how much open space is left, how strong the wind is. All those factors affect how much string I let out or where I run – walk mostly – or where I sit to enjoy a created thing flying – which I’m kind of responsible for.  Then the wind weakens, nothing I can do will keep the kite in the air and I’m reminded how little control I have. It’s also interesting that the more string that’s out, the farther away from me the kite is, the less control I have…it’s amazing and humbling. Humility is good for fathering. Life is full of ups and downs.

Kite flying and fathering, like all analogies has it’s limits. While a kite crashes if not tethered – children need healthy separation from parents to truly be themselves. I suppose we’re always connected to our children. Our connections becomes less obvious as they mature and often get stretched by geography, communication, and choices they make for themselves. Fathering and flying a kite both need outside help for one to be up to the task…Lord in Your Mercy.

Changing the subject…sort of.

Human being or doer or both?…a haiku by gsm

when is doing what 

you are meant to be, become 

being who you are

— 20sep18 – inspired by this blog and a conversation over breakfast with WW 

About gsmurphy1

Husband, father, son, brother, listener, seeker, encourager, pilgrim, stained glass artist
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