Look up, ‘way up

Life lessons of kite flying

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Canadians my age (full disclosure: I’m 48) will remember hearing Early One Morning as a theme to the children’s program The Friendly Giant.  Friendly would put out chairs – ostensibly for us child viewers – and then he would call on us all to sit and then to, “Look up, wayyyyyy up” to the magic of music and storytelling that would take up the 15 minutes of the show. 

I adored that show.  Whimsy and talent was the curriculum.

Many years later, 2 years after I had graduated from the University of Toronto, I happened to be on  “Front Campus” of the university grounds, a large open field in front of Convocation Hall.  It was Commencement and a new set of graduates would be pouring out, diplomas in hand.

But, for now, Front Campus was empty, but for myself and an elderly Chinese gentleman, who was flying not one, not two, but three kites on one string. There was next to no wind blowing that day yet the man stood there, intuitively finding movement in the air – cast and tug, cast and tug. A little bit of magic and a little bit of science was at work here that morning.  That and much patience. 

I sat, looked up, ‘wayyyy up and watched the kites in awe. 

Minutes later, the graduates came pouring out of the Hall.  They were happy as they laughed with their families and friends, chattering about this and that. 

Not one student looked up, ‘wayyyy up, at the kites.

I left Front Campus feeling sad and discouraged.  If these students could not see the life lessons that were being taught, right in front of them, then what did the future hold for them?  

That was 1995.  Now in 2018, I still ask that question of the generations that have come since. But with hope I still look up, ‘wayyyy up.

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