Plane & Pilot
Saturday, March 1, 2008

Passion Breeds Success


If you love something, you can’t help but win


grassrootsYesterday, as we were taxiing back for yet another dash down the runway to defy gravity, I started laughing out loud. My student asked what I was laughing about and I said, “The thought just crossed my mind that, at this exact moment, my daughter is on set in Toronto producing her first movie, my son is negotiating with several agencies that are competing fiercely for his scripts, Marlene is making a name as a ceramicist and I’m sitting in my favorite airplane doing what I love to do. Life is good for the Davisson tribe, and I can’t keep from laughing.”
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grassrootsYesterday, as we were taxiing back for yet another dash down the runway to defy gravity, I started laughing out loud. My student asked what I was laughing about and I said, “The thought just crossed my mind that, at this exact moment, my daughter is on set in Toronto producing her first movie, my son is negotiating with several agencies that are competing fiercely for his scripts, Marlene is making a name as a ceramicist and I’m sitting in my favorite airplane doing what I love to do. Life is good for the Davisson tribe, and I can’t keep from laughing.”

From beginning to end, this week has been an incredible high: Both of my kids appear to be realizing their dreams in so many different ways. And that means that I too am realizing my dreams; being a parent means that if your kids are happy, you’re happy too. And believe me, I’m happy. And to answer your next question, no, neither of them fly.

It’s a common assumption that pilots want their kids to fly, but in my case, that’s simply not true. I want my kids to be what they want to be. Period. Besides, them not flying means I have one less thing to worry about.

It’s known far and wide that I’m a worrier. I, however, prefer to characterize my mode of thinking as preparing for emergencies (e.g., each and every time the throttle goes forward, I automatically assume the engine’s going to quit, and plan accordingly). I guess I do that so much that it carries over into my nonaviation life and makes me look like a born-again pessimist: I assume things are going to go wrong and make mental preparations for plan B. In flying, I don’t think we have any other choice.

A good percentage of what we train for in aviation could be labeled “disaster prevention,” but that doesn’t stop us from loving and enjoying what we do. It’s not a negative way of thinking; it’s pure common sense.

As for my kids not flying, I don’t see that as a negative because they’ve both developed the one thing that I think is necessary in a human being and that’s a driving passion for what they do. I’ve never cared what my kids did for a living as long as they went after it with passion and made it more than a job. They should make it who they are, not what they do. And they’ve both done that in spades. Besides, it’s not necessary that they, or anyone else, fly to be considered a complete person.

Flying isn’t for everyone and it definitely isn’t for those who are incapable of developing a passion for it. People who view flying as just something to do (rather than a deep-seated passion) will develop the skills, but the skills will be floating on top of their shallow interest; they won’t develop the depth that comes from learning with passion. Being totally out-of-your-mind in love with something like flying means you can’t do it enough, can’t learn enough and you’re always out there flipping over rocks looking for the next hidden morsel of knowledge or the next cool airplane.




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