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Go fly a kite!


Kite-flying can be a lot of fun if you're good at it, but it's not as easy as it looks. When my son David was 4 years old, I decided to show him how to fly a kite. We went to the store, bought two kites — a small one for him, a large one for me — and went to a nearby park.

I showed David how to assemble his kite, and then I assembled my own. Mine was a bit harder to put together, because it was shaped like an airplane. Actually, it would have been much easier to assemble if I hadn't kept breaking the supporting sticks. Of course, putting my big foot through one of its wings didn't help much either. However, at last — with the help of duct tape — it was ready to soar. Or so I thought.

I helped David get his kite in the air and instructed him how to fly it. He was a natural kite-flier and caught on right away. On the other hand, I was much better at showing than doing. I was having a horrible time trying to get my kite off the ground. Running backward, I slammed into a tree, then I tripped over a large lawn sprinkler. Finally I stumbled across a picnicker's blanket and stepped right into a bucket of fried chicken! All the time, my kite just flip-flopped across the ground. "Good grief!" I exclaimed, thinking of Charlie Brown.

Still, I wasn't quite ready to give up. So with tree bark sticking into my back, a slightly sprained ankle causing me to hobble and part of a chicken wing wedged in the webbing of my open-toe sandal, I limped to my kite. As I carefully removed it from the hydrant, I noticed my "Fun Flier" kite had a large hole in its side, leaving only the letters, "__UN FLIER." How true, how true, I thought.

I reached into my back pocket, took out my roll of duct tape and started taping over the 4-inch hole. It took several minutes of wrapping, but at last the repair was completed. Now the only question was: Could my kite become airborne with half a roll of duct tape around its middle? Nevertheless, with string in hand, hope in my heart and a pronounced limp, I again tried to get the kite into the air. As I hobbled along trying to run, I watched my "__UN FLIER" skim across the grass looking like an under-powered seaplane with a float tube around its center.

As luck would have it, my kite's journey along the ground attracted a small black terrier that took a great interest in the slithering motion of my kite's colorful tail streamer. The dog attacked. He pounced on the tail streamer, bit it and shook it vigorously. In moments he had chewed off the tail and happily ran away with his prize.

At this, I gave up on getting my kite airborne, so I wound in the string and walked over to where my son was flying his kite. It was high in the air, gliding like a bird. I wondered if I should have bought the same kind instead of my "kamikaze" one.

"Do you need some help, Dad?" David asked.

"No, thanks," I replied, feeling warm-hearted at his offer.

Looking closely at my battle-worn kite, he questioned, "Dad, isn't the string supposed to be hooked on the other side of the kite?"

I immediately saw that he was right. How could I admit the truth? How could I say that I'd goofed up from the very start and still save face? The truth won. "David, you're right!" I exclaimed.

We spent the rest of the day sitting on the cool grass, taking turns flying his kite. And we talked about life, the world and the value of being truthful.