Monday, June 17, 2013

Give Them Wings So They Can Fly

The BlogHer writing prompt today is about roots and wings. Here is what is says: "The original quote about giving children roots and wings referred to the roots of responsibility and the wings of independence. Does that change your understanding of the quote?" It would be interesting to find out where BlogHer came up with the information about the quote, which reads "There are two things we should give our children: one is roots and the other is wings." A Google search resulted in the quote being attributed to Hodding Carter, a Pulitzer prize-winning journalist from Louisiana, though a Wikipedia site states that the quote was borrowed from Reverend Henry Ward Beecher. I didn't find anything to substantiate this online. But whoever first said it, the words are good ones to parent by.

I have always interpreted the saying to mean that we must first create an environment in which our children  feel loved and accepted in order for them to become self-assured and independent. Those roots help them build a firm foundation on which to build the rest of their lives - a foundation that will support them even when they take off to pursue their own dreams. My husband and I like to joke that we were either really crappy parents, because our son moved to the East coast following college graduation and our daughter moved to the West coast when she graduated, or we were successful in raising two kids who are confident enough to live so far from home, allowing their own new roots to grow. I hope that it is the latter!

Below is a poem I came across in my Internet search this morning. It did not cite an author, but here is a link to the page where I found it.

Roots & Wings
If I could give you many things,
I'd give you gold and silver rings
Of knowledge that I've gained with years
The gift of smiling through the tears
Confidence, courage, determination,
Laughter and spirit and love of creation,
Wrapped up in a box with a bow, I'd give
To you these gifts to keep for as long as you live. 
"If I could give you just two things,
One would be Roots, the other, Wings."
Roots, not to tie you to the ground,
But to guide you to where your fulfillment is found
The nourishing start, the firm foundation,
The source of your inner determination.
Wings to soar over obstacles, wings to fly free,
Wings to glide to the heights of the best you can be.
And when obstacles loom, from your Roots grows a hand
Providing a strong, sturdy,safe place to land.
I'd choose these two things for the gifts that are best,
For with Roots and with Wings, you'll find all the rest!


Sioux Roslawski said...

Kim--You and your husband raised your children and did it well. My son, after graduating from college, moved four hours away (I know, not as far as the east or west coast, so I shouldn't whine) and I just recently asked him if he was coming to St. Louis--not "home"--for 4th of July...because this is not home for him anymore.

We miss them when they fly away, but we know they have the roots to keep them well grounded...

Unknown said...

Amen, Kim. I had to remember that, too, as our older daughter went off to college in another state and then we didn't hear from her much. And now she's off to her first real job in a little town several states away. Brave and independent (and thanking us for our support). My sad mother's heart is proud.

Mrs. Wryly said...

Yesterday, I watched a mama bird urging her baby to fly. He sat like he was rooted to the decorative beam over the entrance of our office building. Mama fluttered around him with no success in budging him; then she finally bowled into him a couple of times.

I could almost hear her saying, "Get out there and fly! You are meant to fly! (And to gather your own worms, you lazy bum.)"

He didn't want to, but he finally did. And sometimes we don't want them to leave, but they do, taking an invisible root with them to guide them "home."

You and Jim are great parents to have raised such independent, confident kids, who will always need you in their own ways.....

Kim Wolterman said...

You are right Sioux - the roots do keep them grounded. Every time we go to see my in-laws up in Iowa, my mother-in-law greets us by saying "Welcome home!" And I never even lived in that town - lol! I feel the tug of my roots in Cincinnati more than anywhere else.

Kim Wolterman said...

You have every reason to be proud Linda. And now a good reason for a road trip!

Kim Wolterman said...

And at least we have two great places to visit!

Paul Nichols said...

Your information about Roots and Wings is accurate. The trick to finding it is "the other." Nice post.