On my son’s first flight

Today, my fifteen year old son who is in the Civil Air Patrol, Black Sheep Squadron, rode in a small plane for the first time. He even flew the plane for a good while on each flight (he took two flights). He has learned so much since he started in the Civil Air Patrol, just about three months ago. He has grown as a person amazingly in the past three months since he started. I almost thought I would burst with pride when I saw him take off today. I thought I would share with each of you my joy at what he is turning into. And, maybe, it will be of some small help to you, dear reader. Learn more here about the incredible work of the Civil Air Patrol. There follows a letter to my son on this very special occasion.

Dear Justin:


I wanted to write you to congratulate you on your flights today.


Seeing you get in the plane, taxi away, and take off was one of the most exciting times in my adult life . Then to see you landing was awesome. That you were able to fly a plane at fifteen years of age was amazing, simply amazing. Sometimes, it seems while we’re growing up that we’re just marking time, waiting for something fun and exciting to do. And, the things that so many folks find fun and exciting only lead to sorrow and emptiness at the end.


But, in choosing to go in the path you are taking, you are choosing a better way, one that will open untold possibilities to you for your entire future, your entire life. Yes, even the choices you made today will have consequences in thought and in well-being. And, I believe you will have more fun - good fun - than you possibly could have imagined.


Today, you learned that by thinking about things in the right way, you can overcome obstacles that others might consider impossible. For thousands of years, people have watched birds fly and have longed to do the same themselves. What they failed to understand was that flight was logical, and indeed, easy, if only one knew the laws of flight and how to use them. Today, you did what humans for thousands of years felt was impossible. It is sometimes possible to do what we think is impossible.

You can take that principle far into your life - most of life is finding the way to think about something and then acting upon what you learn.


But, more importantly, life asks of all of us to give it our best try, to enjoy it, to learn each day, and to have good, clean fun. You’ve done al lot of that and more in the past several months. You’ve always made me proud but sometimes in the past months I’ve felt so happy with you that I thought I was going to bust.


As I see you embrace life, as I see you fly in your way, a very good way, I feel very, very proud of you.


I hope you know that this is true.


Good job, Justin! Good job!

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