By Melissa Paderick
Christian Action League
September 22, 2021
My Daddy loved to fly a kite! I recall as a child, Daddy getting a kite up in the backyard, and it went so far and so high you could barely see it. As he would turn the stick handle and give the kite more string, the kite would fly higher and higher. As the string ran out, I remember him adding another ball of twine to the line so it could soar even higher. As the second ball ran out, I remember looking up and thinking, “man, if we only had more, he could make it go even higher.”
It amazed me how he navigated that kite! He kept that string tight to keep it flying. It caught the wind just right and stayed up for days! Daddy was obsessed with it flying as high as possible and as long as possible. So he tied it to a screen peg from our dining room window. This way, he could monitor it from inside the house…and monitor it he did – for several days!
But something about that kite with its long string seemed restrictive to me. The kite could fly so much higher without him, or so I thought.
After about day 3, the string broke. The kite turned every possible way before nose-diving somewhere along the Contentnea Creek. It turns out, the string that I thought was so restrictive was the only thing helping the kite reach its highest potential.
My Daddy kept a rather tight rein on me as a teenager. I used to think – “Oh, the instructions, rules, and regulations!” And, right up until he died, despite the handicap of aphasia from a stroke, he’d give me his opinion real quick when he thought I was about to make a bad decision.
I secretly thought to myself that I was wrongfully being held down. He was trying to oppress and encumber me with “his” way of thinking. Just like that silly, restrictive kite string! And yet, as I’ve grown older, I’ve found that while those “restrictions” looked like they were holding me back, they were creating the perfect amount of tension to let me reach my best me. Those rules helped develop virtue: humility, gratitude, commitment, faith, wisdom, and patience, to name a few. So, to me, his “restrictive” rules were spawning the greatest freedoms I could imagine!
I’m grateful for the tension on the string. Even at my age, today, that “tension” is supplied by those whom I know love me and want nothing but the best for me – even when I or others may view such inflexibility as judgmental sentiments, intrusive, or holding one back. I know without rules, sometimes a seemingly hard or firm position – constructive criticism, I would not have the “freedom” to get me where I ultimately want to go – I would only nose-dive and crash.
I understand better now the tension on the string.
Melissa Paderick is a 24-year Human Resources Professional with the State of North Carolina and a native of Eastern NC. She and her husband, Henry, live in Kinston, NC, and have five adult children and four grandchildren. Melissa enjoys taking boat rides to Shackleford Banks, N.C., gardening, listening to great music, and spending time with family and friends in her spare time.
Melissa is the youngest child of Heber and Alice Creech of Snow Hill, NC, and the only sibling of Dr. Mark H. Creech.