Trying to Fly

by MW Cook

Joseph handed me one of his big story books and asked me to read to him the other day. The book was one of those large compilations of stories. I really have no idea where we got it, but he likes it. So I opened to the middle, picked a random story and started reading.

A mouse named McWhiskers was walking around with a friend when they heard the news that Bru the Bear was planning to fly that afternoon and had invited everyone to come watch. McWhiskers immediately identified himself as the nay-sayer of the forest, as he commented on how bears simply cannot fly. But he went along anyway. They arrived at Bru’s place to see him piling crates up and attaching a pair of wings he had made to his arms. He was ecstatic. McWhiskers tried to rain on his parade by pointing out, again, that bears cannot fly. Bru was undaunted, though, and brushed his negativity aside.

Of course, Bru’s attempts at flying failed. He leapt off the crates and flapped his wings hard, but crashed to the ground. McWhiskers had a polite ‘I told you so’ moment and finally convinced Bru to abandon his pursuit of flight altogether.

The end.

I decided to never read that story to Joseph again.

Most people would say that McWhiskers was right to stop Bru. I mean, how could a bear ever hope to fly? It’s impossible! Indeed, if God had wanted Bru to fly, he would have given him wings. Good for you, Mr. McWhiskers, for stopping your silly friend from making a fool of himself.

But was it really impossible for Bru to fly? Of course, the crude wings he made couldn’t do the job. But what if he built better wings? What if he devoted himself to learning about aerodynamics and trust and fuel and was able, after much work, to fashion a machine that would take him off the ground, just like we humans have? He would have flown. But he’ll never get that chance, you see, because McWhiskers talked him out of it.

Imagine how much we would have lost if all the Brus of the world had listened to all the McWhiskers. We would have never advanced beyond the bronze age. We would have never done anything difficult or time-consuming. We would have never chased our dreams.

McWhiskers, I think, is a cruel person. He himself had no ambition to fly, and so he saw fit to rob his friends of their ambition. And, in doing so, he became a murderer to dreams. Don’t be like McWhiskers. You never know when you may be cutting down a person who was destined to change the world.