String Beneath My Wings
A young boy was learning to fly a kite. A parrot got entangled in the unsteady string of the kite and fell to the ground. The boy watched in distress as the injured bird lay an egg before taking her last breath. Heartbroken, he made a little nest on the branch of a tree and nurtured the egg. The egg hatched and out emerged the most beautiful bird he had ever seen! The boy tended to the baby parrot several times a day. As time passed, he noticed that the parrot’s wings were fully developed, yet it refused to move out of its nest. The child was disturbed, and brought it to his father’s attention, “It’s simple”, the father replied, as he cut the branch of the tree where the bird was sitting. The bird flew high up into the sky, disappearing above the colorful kites.
Sometimes we remain in our comfort zone and fail to soar to our full potential. This happens when our parents or employers do not expose us to the opportunities outside our home or project.
Feeling redeemed, the boy resumed his kite flying practice. Doubly charged, he wanted his kite to soar as high as the parrot. He felt the string was holding the kite back from reaching its full potential. He remembered his dad’s lesson and decided to cut the string so that the kite would be free and able to soar even higher. The kite started to go a little higher at first, but then it slowly started to come down, much to the young boy’s dismay.
Sometimes our constraints are the very reason for us to soar high. This happens when the close support system of our family or organization nurtures values that fuel our success—like discipline and loyalty.
The takeaways are at odds. For the world is full of successful people on both sides. Many succeed by venturing away from their family or reverting to job-hopping. Then there are those who capitalize on the strong support of their immediate family and the early employer to succeed.
The reason for the conflicting lessons is our focus on the side characters of the story, namely, the branch and the string. Instead, our lessons should be drawn from the central actors—the bird and the kite.
The bird flew high up because flying is its innate talent. The kite fell down because flying is unnatural to it. Kids as well as professionals should be encouraged to pursue their natural talents. The role of the surrounding ecosystem, be it the family or the organization, is to pave the path that resonates with both the heart and the talent of the aspirant. This makes the pursuit of our dreams and their eventual fulfillment more meaningful and satisfying.