April 7th, 2007
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Yesterday evening we took the kids to the park to fly kites, ride bicycles, and kick around a soccer ball.

To me, there is something magical about flying kites. Watching a kite dance in the wind is very soothing to my soul. Who needs meditation, when you can fly a kite instead?

I was more than willing to lie down on the cool and slightly damp, green grass to rest as I held onto the kite string. As I felt the kite tug as if it wanted to go further, I thought of my children and how each one of them has developed. Each one is different, and each has tugged on the proverbial string in different ways as they have looked for what they thought was freedom in their lives. Just like with the kite, I have had to set limits on how far they could go, regardless of how far they felt they should be allowed to go in various situations.


If I cut the string on the kite I was flying yesterday, it would have come crashing to the ground. If I didn’t set limits for my children, they too would crash to the ground. However, if I only gave the kite a few feet of string and then yanked hard everytime it wanted to climb higher, it wouldn’t fly very well. It needed freedom to catch the wind up and away in the sky, not remain just a few feet away from me and the ground.

Sometimes children get out of balance and need us to guide them gently in order to succeed. Yesterday, the wind was just a bit too powerful for one of our kites and as a result it was not flying well. Jeff took his nail clippers out of his pocket and tied them to one strip of the tail. It was just enough weight to more fully balance the kite, and it kept the kite up in the air. As it flew, you could see the clippers shimmering as they caught the sunlight.

What is it that keeps a kite in the air anyway? With no wind it won’t fly, but with no one holding on to the end of the string offering resistance, it also won’t fly. Sort of a “roots and wings” image, if you will.

If you are a parent who is either afraid to set limits for your child, or are one who is very authoritarian and orders your child around without allowing him freedom to choose and make mistakes at times, think of the kites. Neither method will work. Both will cause your child to fall from the sky, rather than allowing them to rise to their utmost potential.

related links:
Kites, their history, and cultural uses

Kite Flying (A children’s picture book) by Grace Lin

Parenting with Love and Logic

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