“Here, daddy.” he says with a devilish grin.
“I made you something.”
As I glance down to see what his tiny palm has in store, I see his eyes light up with the type of joy only a five-year old boy possesses.
“Isn’t it the coolest, dad?” he says with the pitch and fervor of a used car salesman.
There, clutched in-between his fingers, lies a piece of red construction paper. It’s folded with the finest precision of any origami you’ve ever laid your eyes on. Markings of crayola and assorted superhero stickers adorn each and every side as badges of pride and accomplishment.
As he hands his masterpiece to me, he whispers underneath his breath “Now, be VERY careful with this. I have been working super hard, dad.” At this point, his words were gospel. He had been working feverishly for the last hour on this project. And now it was time for him to taste the fruits of his labor.
“Now, repeat after me.” I told him.
Together, we chanted in perfect harmony.
And with that, his gift to me took flight. His finely constructed paper plane glided through the air just as his intentions hoped it would. With each and every crash landing, he would pick up his creation, make adjustments, and pitch it up into the stratosphere of our living room again and again.
In that very moment, I learned something from my son. He wasn’t just showing me how to fly a paper plane. No, he was teaching me something more profound, more intricate than his brain could conceptualize.
You WILL crash and burn. Over and over again. And there isn’t a damned thing you can do about it. But unlike that paper plane that will eventually go into the trash can, you have a choice. You can sit there and wallow in your own pity. You can loathe in your own insecurities. Or even worse, make the decision to never set foot on a plane of any kind again.
Or you can choose a different route, a different flight so to speak. You can get up, straighten your edges, and pilot your own plane, your own path.
As the sounds of my son’s laughter fill my ears, I sit down, grab a piece of my son’s coveted construction paper, and begin to construct my own masterpiece. After all, I’ve had my fair share of the crashes. I’ve had enough of the burning. It’s time to take flight once again. And even if I do crash and burn, I’ll have the know-how, the wherewithal to build a brand new plane. And I have the tiniest aeronautical engineer and the most infectious giggle to thank for teaching me just that.