As typical six-year-old girls, my twin sister and I bobbed up and down like little jumping beans while we watched the Stinson gracefully touch down on the runway. "Never mind the plane. You stay right here, and don't walk through that door!" Ms. P cackled with her eyes fixed on our every move.
Soon enough, we changed places with the two older sisters. Now, they (poor dears) would have to endure Ms. P. I soon forgot all about the grueling morning in captivity at the 80 degree hangar as I placed my right foot on that aircraft step and climbed on board.
I entered a whole different world—the rather cramped cockpit with a million gages, switches, levers, and interesting buttons on the instrument panel―those brown leather seats which felt a bit sticky against the back of your legs. And those steering controls, or yoke, as my dad called it...
I prepared myself for an exhilarating moment―the take off. I thought about the journey ahead and anticipated all the places we would see. The Catoctin Mountains, Lake Needwood, and our house. I imagined the lovely, open sky―a beautiful and spacious place that would whisk me high above the trees, through the the clouds, above the mundane. A place that was brighter than bright—a place to truly soar.
I felt so happy to be flying that day, and knew that we were in excellent hands with my dad in the left seat. He helped us click our seatbelts. Billy, always the thoughtful older brother, offered to let me sit up front, while he and my twin sat in the back seats.
As Dad reached over to tighten my seat belt, he gave me a little pat on the knee. I didn't have a care in the world.
As I glanced back at my twin one last time before take off, we giggled, then instinctively pushed our heads to the back of the seats to prepare for take-off. As always, dad surveyed the area, confidently yelled, "Clear prop!"—then, without a backward glance, taxied the plane, steadily gaining adequate speed before clearing those trees at the end of the 2,000 foot runway.
We gained altitude and kept it. Now we were soaring over Maryland's rolling hills.
My dad alternated looking right and left (I guess to look for other aircraft), then gave me an approving nod, which I knew meant that I could now put my hands on the controls. During those moments, I imagined that I was Amelia Earhart, white scarf and all. But, of course, the whole time, dad was assuredly the pilot in command.
This story is such a powerful image to me because it reminds me that in mothering and in teaching―we may coordinate our kid's education and execute dozens and dozens of details―but ultimately God is in the left seat overseeing everything.
One of the interesting things that I learned from flying was that it's all about perspective. One moment, your foot is firmly planted on the ground, and the next moment you're peering down at trees that look like part of a Lego village. You step on board the plane, and everything changes. Once you gain some altitude, you see things from a totally different perspective.
When I started to teach at home, I learned some very interesting things. I learned valuable lessons on what it means to be patient and gentle as a mom, as a teacher. Amidst countless blunders along the way, I learned that as I poured my life into being a teacher―the twins were picking up what was in my heart. The twins discovered that forgiveness can flow over your heart like water over stone, and that loving God and loving people are the two most important things in life. And that's part of the essence of homeschooling.
Just as when I flew, my perspective changed—when I taught at home, my perspective changed. What had looked so daunting, so scary, so unachievable ended up being possible with God's help.
Enjoy every moment of teaching. Enjoy the journey! You're going to soar!