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Working Professionally with Children and Youth in Care
CYC-Online Issue 73 FEBRUARY 2005 / BACK
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postcard from leon fulcher

From Al Ain Aerobatics Show 2005

Greetings from one of those awesome “toys for the boys” kind of events, the second Aerobatics Show and Fédération Aéronautique Internationale event staged last week as the Middle East’s top aerobatics show. Sixteen participating teams from 36 countries took part for this five-day event at Al Ain airport in the United Arab Emirates, where the Chairman of the local Tourism Authority invited guests to “enjoy their stay in our country known the world over as stable and safe, thanks to the architect of the UAE, late president Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nayan.” “Boys” certainly turned out in force over the World Grand Prix event, but families also entered into the spectacle viewing flying machines of all shapes and sizes.

Something to See for Children of All Ages!

As I so often do when lost in a crowd, people watching took on about as much spectacle as the air show. There were national formation teams from Russia, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Pakistan, India and the UAE, and civilian display teams from the Czech Republic, Britain, France, Italy, Switzerland and Romania. Solo Display Pilots from Hungary, Russia and Germany performed feats that left us all wondering why anyone would take such risks in a perfectly good airplane. In between events, children played as they always seem to do: some making new friends, others chasing after balloons, but always pausing to look skywards as model airplanes of every size and variation performed toyland feats totally beyond our comprehensions.

All Made to Feel Small Alongside Massive Flying Machines

The Flying Jet Man from Switzerland made us all stop and wonder why “for the past hundred years “men have been strapping on wings attempting to fly like birds? This guy actually strapped two jet engines onto his back and flew like a bullet. No thank you! But while men (some women, but mostly men) have been trying to fly like the birds, alas they have done so with little of the grace so closely associated with our real feathery friends. This point was brought home to us ever so directly when after all the roaring of jets ceased and the acrobatics of flying teams finished, a quiet little microlight aircraft puttered into view. And to everyone’s amazement, there were ten geese flying alongside in formation. Wherever the microlight flew the geese followed, changing formations in response to hand signals from the pilot. These beautiful birds altered their rhythms according to the rhythms of their caregiver. And once again it reminded me how skilled child and youth care workers move with the rhythms of the kids with whom they work. It was just like Mark Kruegar’s explanation of dance as a metaphor for purposeful interactions. There is no need for shouting, fussing about or concerns about sanctions. When workers and young people find their relational rhythms, it works! Just like the geese and the microlight pilot.

Remember the Parable of the Geese and the Microlight!

I’m not suggesting that you race out to the nearest airport and jump into a microlight, nor am I thinking that kids need to move in formation “like some hostel supervisors did this week with a group of female international students on their visit to the Aerobatics Show! Just think about the ways in which you move into rhythms with kids “their rhythms mostly and not yours “then see for yourself what happens. The roar of the engines will likely go quiet and something magical happens! Take care!

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