We all know a paper airplane can only fly but so far, except in the hands of a 5-year-old.
Daily reading lessons with my five-year old son is so much more bearable (for him) when he has his newly made paper airplane in hand. He plans flights all over the world when a nearby dresser top is not enough. He takes flight to places like New Zealand, Africa, and Asia, making emergency stops in the middle of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. This is the method we use to break the monotony of our 30 minute reading lessons. Short breaks are necessary particularly for a child who prefers moving around, telling imaginative stories and pretending to pilot a jet airliner over repeating short vowel sounds.
The symbolism of the paper airplane is not lost on me. I see how excited he is when the airplane leaves his hands and into the air for .2 seconds before either gliding or doing a nosedive into a nearby bed. I see his passion for explaining to me about rocket boosters and engines. I see it and it connects me to my imagination and passion. As I teach him to read, I imagine with excitement the day he will take flights to faraway places through books. As his mom, I imagine the many times I will, by God’s grace, get to release him from my hands to glide over the deep waters of life or nosedive into them. Like a paper airplane in the hands of a 5-year-old, he may look like an average kindergartener boy to the naked eye but in my heart and mind he is already that pilot, secret agent, engineer and world traveler.