My youngest (of 14 children) just turned 19. She graduated from high school this past June – a few days after she got her private pilot’s license!
Reflecting on this, I thought I would write a few posts on things I’m glad I did while raising my kids…..
#1- Let them explore their passions. Make opportunities to allow them to learn what they’re interested in.
Kasey had a real passion for planes ever since she was very little.
We were talking one day about my dad, who was in World War II. She became interested in learning about the places ‘Gramp’ had been on his ship the Teton in the navy. He was a signal man.
We started reading about the Battles of Midway, Guadalcanal, Okinawa, etc. Then, in the course of shopping, Kasey started noticing men in stores wearing their World War II caps. She asked me to go up to them and thank them. We began approaching them, shaking their hands and thanking them for their service.
It was out of my comfort zone at first, but we soon found it meant so much to them to have a young person be interested in their experiences and grateful for them. Often we’d ask what branch of the service they’d been in, where they had fought or been stationed. We’d make an appointment to go visit them later. Then we’d go home and read about where they said they had been so we could ask more intelligent questions. Kasey made a glider out of PVC pipes and canvas after hearing of one vet who rode the gliders into Normandy. It was a bit too heavy- didn’t work very well, but she learned from that.
Boy, did we ever learn a lot of history from these men and developed some incredible friendships in the process. One of the men we became friends with was Bill Overstreet who had been an ace in World War II. He had flown his plane underneath the Eiffel Tower to shoot down a German Messerschmidt. He had been captured once and escaped. As we would visit, he’d share more of his experiences.
This helped to increase Kasey’s passion to fly. We have a friend in church who is a flight instructor. He began to take Kasey up in the air and let her work the controls. In her junior year of high school, the school where he worked launched a ‘pilot program’ for high school students. They would go to a 2 week intensive class which included ground school and flying to be able to fly solo. Kasey was one of the students he hand-picked to do this. She was able to accomplish her solo flight with only 9.4 hours of flight time!
Some people asked me if I was scared for her. You know, our time on earth is chosen by God. This meant so much to her. Of course, I was excited for her to do this.
This past summer, the university again provided the opportunity for high school students to obtain their private pilot’s license in just 4 weeks time. She had taken an online course to prepare for it and more ground school during the 4 weeks as well as flight time. She was the only girl and actually did her check ride and passed before any of the guys.
We had a party at the airport to celebrate her obtaining her private pilot’s license combined with her graduation from homeschool high school. She had people put their names in a hat and drew names to give plane rides. Her instructors did the flying this time so she could mingle with her guests. It was special. It had been a HUGE amount of study, but she had accomplished her goal!
Again- let your kids try things, even difficult things. Encourage them. We spent much time together – me drilling her on questions she needed to learn.
Invest in helping them reach their goals. Start whenever you see an interest crop up. You are the facilitator. You can provide materials/books/supplies for them to explore and create. Let them learn from their failures. When one fails and keeps on trying, failures become stepping stones to success!
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