Kite making and kite flying have been enjoyed for centuries in the orient and for a good many years in this country, and will continue as a seasonal sport for perhaps all time. It can be made more interesting and useful by a little cooperation on the part of the grown-ups. It may be only expression of appreciation of the effort put forth by some otherwise idle fellow, or it may be in the form of a request of teacher to pupil for a nice kite as a gift for a third party, or it may be the arousing of school spirit for the best showing at a tournament, it might be assistance rendered in planning a beautiful kite, and it might be a great many other things that have not been mentioned. Kite making will not catch and make good every boy, even with the best efforts of the best teachers, but it will go farther than any other enticement toward bringing about good comradeship between teacher and scholar, which is half the battle with uncertain temperaments in some boys. We need to come shoulder to shoulder with the boys to help them most.
But the merits of kite making go farther than the social relationship, it arouses the inventive spirit in the boy, fills in many otherwise idle hours with good healthy sport that occupies the children out of doors. It is not wasted time unless indulged in to too great excess, but new developments bring about new studies of the kite problems that are as good for the boys as problems of other subjects like arithmetic and geometry for we must remember that boys have subject of study not found in text-books.
Someone told me not long ago that "no one could think an evil thought while looking up". Some one else has written, "If the outlook is not good, try the uplook". This latter has a greater significance than would be generally applied to boys flying kites, but who knows what boys are really thinking about; maybe we underestimate their abilities and inclinations. Our boys often need more persistency of effort, and must be held to their jobs by much attention on the part of overseers. Most boys will stick to kite making against great discouragement and some will continue, for long periods, working patiently and carefully until they succeed. The string is often a source of great annoyance, it snarls up and some lads will cut out the hard knots, but others will tackle the knotty problems and untangle them, they will do the same with knotty problems in life later on. It is patience that wins in many a tangled strife. Boys do not as a rule have as good feeling for color harmony, or so the ladies think, as the girls; help the boys out a little on their color combinations on their kites. It may be the first time the boy has had a problem of his own in color work.
Perhaps the little aeroplane does not go very far, it looks like a failure. Do you look on and pass on? If the model goes at all by its own power, that boy has made a something that has overcome the force of gravity to the extent of traveling transversely to its downward pull. Recognize it, and encourage the boy. There is a difference between flinging one so that it will travel for a short distance, and releasing one that travels by its own power. The former may be a deception. Give credit where credit is due.
The balloons have very little lifting power, but the force of gravity has been overcome, two gases of unequal density have been placed in juxtaposition and the lighter one goes up. So we might go on with each of the subjects attempted in this book. There has been great demand for the briefer treatise, and I hope this little book may have met the expectancy of its readers more than half way.
Remember it is not just the pretty kite soaring high in the sky. Remember there is a BOY at the other end of the kite line. Boost for him.