The spirit of the young eagle

The following is a prologue to my new inspirational book The Young Eagle.

The nest of young eagles hung on every word as the Master Eagle described his exploits. This was an important day for the eaglets. They were preparing for their first solo flight from the nest. It was the confidence builder many of them needed to fulfill their destiny.

“How far can I travel?” asked one of the eaglets.

“How far can you see?” responded the Master Eagle.

“How high can I fly?” quizzed the young eagle.

“How far can you stretch your wings?” asked the old eagle.

“How long can I fly?” the eaglet persisted.

“How far is the horizon?” the mentor rebounded.

“How much should I dream?” asked the eaglet.

“How much can you dream?” smiled the older, wiser eagle.

“How much can I achieve?” the young one continued.

“How much can you believe?” the old eagle challenged.

Frustrated by the banter, the young eagle demanded, “Why don’t you answer my questions?”

“I did.”

“Yes. But you answered them with questions.”

“I answered them the best I could.”

“But you’re the Master Eagle. You’re supposed to know everything. If you can’t answer these questions, who can?”

“You.” the old, wise eagle reassured.

“Me? How?” the young eagle was confused.

“No one can tell you how high to fly or how much to dream. It’s different for each eagle. Only you and God know how far you’ll go. No one on this earth knows your potential or what’s in your heart. You alone will answer that. The only thing that limits you is the edge of your imagination.”

The young eagle, puzzled by this, asked, “What should I do?”

“Look to the horizon, spread your wings, and fly.”

Age is only a number

For Christmas this year, I gave a friend a copy of my new book, The Young Eagle. It is an inspirational tale of a young eagle that leaves the nest to pursue his destiny. He is encouraged to dream big dreams. My friend, Dave, is in his late 50’s. After reading this, he said to me: “This message is good for the younger guys, but what about the old guys like me? How are we supposed to dream?” I always listen to feedback, whether or not I want to hear it. Dave’s question got me thinking. Pursuing one’s dreams is not age-specific. It’s for everyone, at all ages. Consider the following:

The average age of those assuming the Presidency of the United States is 54.8 years-old.

Handel wrote his famous “Messiah” at age 57.

Karol Wojtyla became Pope John Paul II at age 58.

Alfred Sloan, Jr. wrote “My Years With GM” at age 89.

Martha Graham won a Pulitzer Prize for her book, “Personal History,” that she wrote at age 79.

Ray Kroc got the idea for McDonald’s at age 52.

Harland Sanders was 65 years old when he founded KFC.

At age 58, Cliff Young ran and won the Westfield Sydney to Melbourne marathon, defeating a field of younger competitors.

Frank Lloyd Wright created the famous Guggenheim Museum in New York when he was 80 years old.

So you see, Dave, dreaming is not just for the young; it’s for all of us. It’s never too late to dream. It’s always the right time to dream. You do it every night when you go to sleep. Imagine using that same creative power in a conscious state. I’ll finish with a question from Robert Schuller: “What would you attempt if you knew you couldn’t fail?” Everything, of course.

I would like to leave you this year with an Irish blessing.

May your day be filled with blessings

Like the sun that lights the sky,

And may you always have the courage

To spread your wings and fly.

Tom Reilly is a professional speaker and author. You can reach Tom through his Web site: You may read an excerpt from this new book by visiting the Web site The Young Eagle is published by Motivation Press, 2005 ISBN 0-944448-28-3.

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