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Encouraging dreams: Yea, that’s what a mom does

Posted by on March 25, 2013 – 10:12 pm

future pilot

Growing up, I wanted to be an astronaut. From about 9 or 10 through the first year of high school, I KNEW that would be my career. Back then (dang, it wasn’t that long ago, was it?), the space shuttle was fairly new. Networks covered every launch.It was BIG news.
My parents did everything they could to encourage this interest – from helping me find addresses to write letters to the astronauts (and paying for the stamps) to sending me to Space Camp thousands of miles away in a state we’d never visited (and putting me on a plane by myself to get there).
Of course, I’m not an astronaut. My dreams changed. And with each idea and step in a new direction – future band director, musician, dancer, writer – my parents didn’t tell me “that’s not a good idea” or “maybe try something else.” They supported me.
That’s one lesson I’m certainly trying to put into practice as a mom.
My middle child has said for about a year or two that she wants to be a pilot. My husband and I both have a long line of pilot relatives – grandparents, parents, uncles. So it should be of no surprise that one of our children is considering this.
We’ve talked to her about schools she can attend in high school to learn more about aviation, taken her to the science center, even visited the NASA exhibit.
With her California grandparents in town this past weekend, we loaded up the car for a visit to the Falcon Field Open House in Mesa. Not only was she excited about it, but so was her brother and grandfather – my dad. My dad knew how the gears, bells and whistles worked on an airplane before he was 13 since my grandfather owned an airport in Indiana.
Our family soaked up the event – from my dad’s long talk with the owner of a Piper he used to fly to seeing an Apache Helicopter up close to the large-scale trains in a hanger, the entire visit was a hit. My son really enjoyed seeing the helicopters. Even our youngest got in the act.
But the highlight had to be when the owner of a flying school picked up my 8-year-old daughter and put her in a two-seat training plane. She just lit up.
I have no idea if she’ll become a pilot (though I wouldn’t put it past her), but I do know that I really enjoy encouraging this goal.
And if nothing else, when she is a mom, i hope she takes this lesson to heart, too.

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