His First Flight
This is a story about the painful process of learning an important lesson in life. The main character of this story is a baby seagull which has to learn to fly. For most of the birds, learning to fly is taken for granted but we seldom think the mental agony which the bird may have to go through while doing so.
This short story beautifully depicts the situation. The parents and siblings of the baby seagull apply all the tricks to cajole and force it to fly. Finally, the baby seagull succeeds in overcoming its fear and learns to fly.
Question 1: Why was the young seagull afraid to fly? Do you think all young birds are afraid to make their first flight, or are some birds more timid than others? Do you think a human baby also finds it a challenge to take its first steps?
Answer: The young seagull was afraid of falling and hurting itself. Any animal or bird, including humans is afraid to take first steps or first flight.
Actually this is not a simple act of flying or walking. This is about growing independent, about taking a giant leap towards maturity. As the process of learning anything is difficult so we are apprehensive while taking the proverbial first steps in life. You must have observed a kid crying on his first day to school. As the kid is going to face the harsh outside world, there will not be the protective environment of its parents. So, consciously or subconsciously the kid is having fear about challenges which lie ahead.
Once you will graduate from school and will enter the college, you will feel nervousness and anxiety during initial days of college. But tackling that nervousness is worth it as it will give you enough confidence to enter the adult world.
Question 2: “The sight of the food maddened him.” What does this suggest? What compelled the young seagull to finally fly?
Answer: This episode can be an important lesson to develop self dependence. We human beings get the protection of our near and dear ones almost throughout our lives. Even if somebody becomes adult his/her parents remain protective about him/her. It sounds good but more often than not this possessive behaviour hampers our mental development.
Had seagull’s parents continued to feed him, he won’t have tried to fly. But the hunger; along with sight of tasty fish; compelled him to fly and reach for the sky.
Question 3: “They were beckoning to him, calling shrilly.” Why did the seagull’s father and mother threaten him and cajole him to fly?
Answer: You can compare the situation with the way your parents cajole and sometimes pressurize you to focus on your study. Excess of either love or pressure will not do well for you. You will be spoiled or you can become stubborn.
So a mix of carrot and stick always give the desired results. Probably seagull’s parents have learnt this lesson through their experience. That is why they are following the carrot and stick policy.
Question 4: Have you ever had a similar experience, where your parents encouraged you to do something that you were too scared to try?
Answer: There can be variety of examples, like learning to ride a bicycle, or getting goose-bumps on a ferry wheel, or the apprehension while traveling alone for the first time.
You can try recalling how nervous you felt. What suggestions were given to you and how you overcame your fear to succeed in difficult acts which seem simple for you at present.