Reach For the Kite

While standing in the shallow ocean water, I watched the waves steadily ease their way onto the shore.  As the salt water rushed over my feet, I looked up to see my five-year-old daughter jumping on the beach.  Clad in her tiny swimsuit, sun reflecting off her blond, wild hair, I watched as she smiled and laughed while jumping up and down.  As I gazed over at her, I realized that she wasn’t jumping up and down just for the fun of it; she was reaching for something.  With her little arms outstretched above her head, she jumped and reached, and jumped and reached.  I glanced around to see what she was reaching for, but saw nothing – until I looked up, high up.

About a hundred feet down the beach, a teenage boy was flying a bright red kite.  He had released enough string to get the kite soaring high into the blue sky, and the wind had carried the kite down the beach – right above my daughter’s head.

During one of her attempts to catch the kite, she looked over and saw that I was watching her.  She smiled at me with this look that said, “I’m going to snatch this kite right out of the sky, Mom; just watch me.”  I smiled back at her and shook my head to myself.  I thought how funny it was that she would expend so much energy jumping and reaching for something that she will never get.  Then I stopped; embarrassed that my first thought was that she couldn’t do it.  I asked myself, why shouldn’t she think she can get that kite?  Who am I to say she can’t reach it?  What if the wind stopped and the kite dropped from the sky to her feet?  What if a gust of wind lifted her as she jumped so the kite was right within her grasp?  What if she never tried to catch the kite?

It was that last thought that struck me the most.  At that moment, I found myself cheering her on, encouraging her to catch the kite.

Eventually, she tired out, got distracted, and moved on to something else.  She never did catch that kite; but, no one can say that she didn’t try her hardest.  And no one can say that she didn’t have a great time doing it.  She never felt bad, or disappointed, or like a failure because she didn’t catch that kite.  She had fun trying and that’s all she cared about.  “Maybe tomorrow, I’ll catch the kite,” she later told me.

Leaders, and aspiring leaders, can learn a lot from this five-year-old little girl.  We should reach for the kites in our lives, and encourage others to reach for the kites in their life.  Because, even if we don’t catch the kite that day, or ever, it can be really fun to try.  And, who knows, maybe the wind will be just right the day we decide to jump.

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Erin Rhinehart

Erin Rhinehart is a Partner with the law firm Faruki Ireland & Cox P.L.L., which has offices in Dayton and Cincinnati, Ohio. Her practice focuses on media and communications law, class action defense, and business litigation. Connect with Erin on LinkedIn or follow her on Twitter.

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