My oldest son has a thing for flying. He’s always loved jets. Around the house, if he’s going about his business, he’s got a tiny f-18 in his hands and he’s pretending he’s some pilot ace. In his top bunk bed, he’s always shooting at us with his “ratatatatatatatat” invisible/pretend guns-a-blazing. And this past year when he flew with Daly Kay to Navy SEAL Chuck Keating’s funeral, the flight was heavenly for him.
So this weekend, he was up at the crack of dawn for an opportunity to fly with the Young Eagles. This local chapter of volunteer pilots offers to “fly kids for free” in the hopes of sparking the passion for flight in the minds of those they are serving. Hundreds of kids showed up to see small private aircraft up close and personal, talk with pilots and then fly high in one of the planes fora few minutes.
Of course, my boys and their excitement was hard to contain. They waited– not so patiently– for an hour and a half for their names to be called. Finally, the pilot came over the loud speaker and called for Courson, Shepherd, and Judson. A handsome young man introduced himself to my boys and walked them toward his plane.
“He looks kinda young,” I thought to myself. I whispered a little prayer and continued taking videos and photos of my boys jumping all arpund the plane and finally clamoring inside. A woman walked up to me and introduced herself as the pilots mom.
He was young.
19 years old to be exact.
I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you that I wanted to immediately ask my boys to get out of the plane.
I watched (with sweaty palms) as they taxied towards the runway and took off into the wild blue yonder. I kept talking to the pilot’s mom, trying not to seem as though I was interrogating her about her son’s experience and capabilities.
Turns out this young man has over 1500 hours flight time and flies jets locally for a private company. The plane he had my boys in was one of two that he owned. He was not only qualified, he was well experienced…and I began to breathe a little easier.
We made a friend out of Connor Walsh that day. My boys can’t stop talking about him and how they can’t wait to see him again soon. He offered to fly “all my kids”– until his mama told him exactly how many kids that included. And little Courson has said Connor’s name in nearly every sentence since Saturday.
I am so thankful for programs like these that seek to help fuel the personal fire of kids and their God-given purposes. I am grateful for willing volunteers like Connor and the dozens of others that worked to make this past weekend happen. And I pray the Lord would open the doors of opportunities for your children to have similar experiences that will lead them towards the purpose and path He has for your children!