Green farmland with rich vegetation and rolling hills with a big skyMy youngest son, Cort, didn’t enjoy his first airplane ride. He was four and from the moment we took off, he kept asking when we’d head home. I tried to stifle my disappointment. How could this boy not like flying? Among our sons, Cort is the most like me: acts like me, looks like me. When he was an infant, I’d carry him into a public place and strangers would stop us, all saying something similar to, “Are you sure you didn’t birth that boy?”

I didn’t realize the underlying cause of Cort’s attitude toward flying until one of my flying buddies, Ged, pointed out what I’d overlooked. Having a son the same age, Ged made a simple observation:

“Did you bring a booster seat so he could see out the window?”

Well… uh… no.

Sitting in the back of the plane, Cort couldn’t see anything but the inside. No wonder he wasn’t impressed, forced to look at my seat back only. He couldn’t see how high we flew, couldn’t take in the breathtaking sights that make flying worthwhile.

My friend’s observation that day was genius of the common sense variety that not only solved my dilemma, but also bestowed an insight on life in general. No wonder so many of us get discouraged with our place in this world sometimes. We concentrate on our immediate surroundings and lose sight of what’s beyond. We focus on the distractions, the bills, the lackluster reality that didn’t meet our Hollywood expectations, when instead we must discover what will boost us above the fray so we can see further.

I’ll tell you what boosts me: flying; my kids’ unadulterated laughter; how my wife and I dovetail our dreams together and encourage each other in their pursuit; the sign above my writing desk that reads, “Leap and the net will appear”; the friends whom I know will do anything for me; great books; amazing movies; and the list goes on. Each of these things gives me the boost I need to ensure I stay focused on that curved path of my dreams that extends toward the horizon. Whenever I mistakenly wander off on a detour, I can count on these life-giving pleasures to reorient me.

What boosts you? If you can’t rattle them off quickly, think about it, seek them out. Once you’ve identified them, always keep them within arm’s reach.

When I took the family on the next airplane ride, Cort sat tall on his booster seat. After takeoff, my wife watched him as he stared out the window. She and I are often caught off guard with the words that spill from his mouth. This is the same son who asked if there were any “go” signs in the world. After we’d leveled off in the plane at 4500 feet, my wife asked, “What do you think, Cort?”

He turned toward her, eyebrows arched high. “I can see so far,” he blurted. “I can almost see the whole world.”

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