“The first duty of love is to listen.” -Paul Tillich
On Tuesday Aidan, my eldest son, was sworn in to the Civil Air Patrol, an auxiliary of the United States Air Force. The Civil Air Patrol (CAP) gives young men and women the opportunity to learn about physical and mental discipline, leadership, and aerospace education. The cadets experience serious field drilling, and about search and rescue missions. Aidan will get some air time too.
He’s only 14 (almost 15), but he knows already that he wants to train as a military pilot. He’s been passionate about airplanes, flight, and aeronautics since he was a small boy, but it’s grown beyond a child-like interest to a true, enduring passion. He’s planning to apply for an ROTC Scholarship for college and to major in physics and engineering. After that he would be committed to the military for at least four years where he would enter the flight training program. I’m amazed that my boy, who was so tiny what seems like just a short time ago, is becoming so focused and dedicated to his dream already. He’s actually thinking things through and doing the footwork to move closer to what he wants. Wow.
Here he is getting ready to leave on Tuesday. He has no stripes yet. He has to earn them. He needed help from Dad with his shoes — the laces could not be showing beneath the trouser hem — very exact requirements!
My handsome, happy boy:
Here’s a photo of them in the field doing some drilling. It’s very impressive watching the precision they attain in doing their marching and drills together:
And here he is taking the oath and Mom pinning the “CAP” insignia on his shirt lapel:
Don’t know what’s going on with my hair there! It’s escaping! The kids can’t “goof around” and need to be serious during these meetings, which must be hard for Aidan because we are a very silly family! The goofball in me really wanted to stare right back in Aidan’s face to make him laugh but I figured this was not the time from my Mom-Antics. 🙂
Now you may be wondering, especially those of you who know me, what I actually think about all this. Do I really want my boy entering the military or even the auxiliary military? Well, it definitely floored me when I realized this is was the direction Aidan was headed in. I never imagined any of my children would go into the military. I have a certain level of discomfort with any organization that requires you to follow commands without question, that emphasizes conformity, and especially one in which my baby might get yelled at or even hurt! But I guess I am learning to let go and also to listen — to listen to Aidan’s perspective on these matters, to his ideas and perceptions about what he wants for himself. They may be different from Philip’s and my own; these differences will create chances for discussion, debate, and growth for all of us if we handle it right.
This is going to be interesting . . .