Jorge Bucay is an Argentinean writer and therapist. He defines himself as a “professional helper”, and through his lectures as well as with his books and his short stories, he offers some tools for us to help ourselves, heal and fly high.
One of his best known stories is called “The Wings Are For Flying”, and it is about the risks we must take in life and points out that when we back down is when we are most likely to fail. But… I better share it.
When he got older, his father said to him:
-My son: not everyone is born with wings. No one is forcing you to fly, but I think it would be a shame for you to limit yourself to walking when God gave you wings.
-But I don’t know how to fly – replied the son.
-True… – said the father. And so he led his son on foot up a mountain to the edge of an abyss.
-Do you see, my son? It’s empty. When you want to fly, come here, take a deep breath and jump. Once in the air, you’ll spread your wings and fly.
The son had doubts.
-What if I fall?
-Although you will fall, you won’t die. When your cuts and bruises heal, you will be stronger for the next attempt.- the father answered.
The son went back to town to see his friends, whom he had walked with all his life.
The most close-minded ones said to him: Are you crazy? Why? Your father has gone half-mad… Why do you need to fly? What’s it good for? Forget it…
His best friend tried to reason with him: Even if your father is right, it’s too dangerous! Wouldn’t it be better to start more slowly? …from the top of the stairs or from up on a tree, but… from a cliff?
This advice made sense to him, so he climbed a tree and summoning all of his courage, he jumped. He spread his wings, and beat them with all his might but fell awkwardly to the ground.
Walking along with a big bump on his forehead, he saw his father.
-You lied to me! – he said- I can’t fly. I tried, and look what happened. Look at this bruise! I’m not like you. My wings are just for decoration.
-My son – said the father – In order to fly you have to create space in the open air so that your wings can really spread out. It’s like a parachute. They only work from a high altitude.
To fly you have to begin taking risks.
If you don’t want to, maybe the best thing is just to give up, and keep walking forever.
In this story, we see how the worst thing the son could do was to listen to those who told him he wouldn’t be able to fly, so he took a very low risk without really believing. Here Bucay also speaks to us about the fear of the new, the changes and how people transmit that fear to others.
In the end, if you want to fly you have to spread your wings, trust your possibilities and be yourself, make our own decisions and not let fears of those who have never tried invade you.