Watching them all grow

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By the end of 2022, there will be three teenagers in our household. I have no idea where the time went but sometimes the days are long, and the years are short. We just wrapped up another busy week celebrating our older daughter’s high school homecoming. We have entered the phase of parenting that includes dating. This is terrifying.

Our daughter is nearly 17 and has a good friend who is a boy. What is particularly extraordinary about her friend is this – he’s been working on getting his private pilot’s license for the past four years. He did this by hustling. He has worked in foodservice and found jobs to make money to fund his flight lessons. It has been impressive to watch this young person carve out an entrepreneurial business detailing vehicles and airplanes. He has helped us around the farm and has an impeccable work ethic.

On his 17th birthday, our daughter’s friend completed his check ride and received his private pilot’s license, a dream he had held since middle school. He is currenlty the youngest pilot in Arkansas. His passion for aviation is contagious to all his friends – young and old.

Our daughter told us he had asked her if he could go up in a plane with him one afternoon after he had received his license. After much parental debate, we agreed to let her fly with him. My husband, the family protector, sent him a text message asking him to make the flight short and get back on the ground by dark. I think he was nervous. This is what the beginning of an improved prayer life looks like.

They chose a gorgeous day for flying. He had orchestrated a scenario where his mother and brothers made a banner to layout in the Elkins baseball fields. As they flew around the local area, they pointed out things they saw to one another. As they flew over our farm, our boys were waving at them in the sky. He pointed out something on the ground in Elkins and asked her what it was. Her reaction was surprise and joy as she noticed a sign that said, “HOCO?” on the ground. He asked her to the high school homecoming dance up in the air. It was a fun and precious memory for all of us.

Homecoming consisted of a pep rally, a spirit week and funny dress up days, a parade around the city of Fayetteville square, homecoming court, a football game and of course, a high school dance. It has been wonderful to see the students be returned to normalcy this school year. 

They flew again on the day of the homecoming dance and indulged us in some photographs at the Air Museum at Drake Field. They were dressed sharply and looked like they were all set for a night of dinner and high school dancing. It is wonderful to see young people with passions and goals that will carry them through adulthood, neighbor.

Jody Harris is a freelance communications specialist, gardener, ranch wife and mother of four. She and her family raise Angus beef cattle and other critters on their northwest Arkansas ranch. She is a graduate of Missouri State University. To contact Jody, go to ozarksfn.com and click on ‘Contact Us.’

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