I remember when my dad taught me to fold and fly my first paper airplane. It was… frustrating, to say the least. After folding my first paper plane, failure never entered my mind. My dad wanted to show me how to throw it, but I didn’t need his help – “this baby’s gonna fly for miles!” Then, after watching my plane nose-dive to the ground a few times, thoughts of failure entered the picture and I was just about ready to give up.
That’s when dad came to the rescue. He took the helm, straightened out the wings and gave my plane a gentle push through the air – a feat that was at once miraculous and maddening. “Why couldn’t I do that?” to which he replied with the age-old adage…
“Practice makes perfect.”
Perhaps I’m biased due to my experience as an Air Force pilot, but it’s amazing how many lessons paper planes can teach us in life, and how these messages are often passed down through our fathers. To persevere when the going gets tough, to practice and learn through trial and error, to challenge yourself with experimentation even if what you have is “good enough.” Learning to fly a paper airplane is equal parts fun and educational and is an activity that engages all generations. It’s a skill that is passed down from father to son like riding a bike, shooting a basketball, or shaving.
So this Father’s Day, think back to your first paper airplane, and the lessons your dad imparted to you through fun and games. Remember that failure, at first, can be disheartening to our kids, but dads worldwide have always been there to save the day and give the guidance our children need to help them fly high and away.
Cheers to all you dads out there, and if the mood strikes, fold up some paper planes and take your kids outside for some fun in the sun.