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The Solo Flight

When I was a kid my family suffered the loss of my father to cancer. He was a shining light to our family and community. His death hit all of us - hard. I remember on occasion others telling me how they missed my dad. He was an amazing man bringing kindness wherever he went. No one was hit harder than my mother but I wouldn’t realize that until much later in life when I became a mother. It was then that I understood how difficult it was to carry the load of work and family alone.

There are eleven million families in our country who are cared for by single parents. Your household may be among them. It is with deep respect and compassion that I write this to you. I see it as a way to reach back to my mom - and deliver a message of encouragement. Though you may feel like you’re flying solo - you are NOT alone. Back in the 70’s when my mother embarked on the solo flight - there were few to no resources available. There was the kindness and help of the local church, but few agencies and tangible resources to support a single parent. That’s not the case today.

Communities across the country have parenting helps. Non-profits offer parenting classes, local churches host support groups, podcasts and books provide an ocean of wisdom and practical ways to navigate child-raising issues. Support is everywhere! If you don’t know your community options, the United Way has a hotline available across the nation to provide information for each community and you can call 211 to find out what’s available in your area. Still, there may be times when you feel alone and unseen as you manage the many moments in your home.

Here are a few parenting encouragements that come from actual Solo Flight training for young pilots preparing for their solo flight experience. These helps also ring true for those of us flying solo at home:

  1. “Practice your flight on the ground.” When you’re going to respond to something difficult or about to set some household guidelines, create a plan and walk through it in your mind. How’s your attitude? What feeling is dominating your mind at the time: fear or hope? Learn how to say the right thing - with the best delivery method. “Practice your flight on the ground”.

  2. “Trust Your Progress.” It’s powerful in any area of life - to review our wins before we set out on a new venture. It reminds us of our strength. It gives us a positive vantage point. Keep a list of your wins and use them to remind yourself - You. Can. Do. This! “Trust Your Progress.”

  3. “Confront Your Anxiety” We naturally face and process anxiety all the time. It’s part of life. Make sure in your busyness that you’re not neglecting yourself. Make time with a trusted source - a mentor, pastor, friend, or family member - who will allow you to be real and help you face your fears - WITH FAITH. A positive force is something we all need. That influence will help you face your fears - reminding you that fear is common - and you can overcome it.

  4. “Give Your Brain a Break” Pilots must keep their perception and response-ability at their optimal level. Parents need to as well. When solo parenting - all the work and all the stress is on you. Make sure you are taking time to decompress and regain clarity. For some parents, that’s after the kids go to bed at night. If your kids go to bed close to your bedtime, consider making their last hour awake a time of quiet reading (not screen time) on their bed, giving you a little extra time of quiet. Consider ways to get a day off alone as well. It will refresh your soul and “Give Your Brain a Break.”

You got this. Eleven million other families are in your lane! God too, promises to be a father to those without one and a comfort to the parent flying solo. In truth, God Himself is on your side providing wisdom and grace for the journey.

You are not alone.

Solo flying tips from

Sandy Ohlman

Allendale Center Director

Healthy conversations with your teen:

As a parent, you know the importance of having healthy and meaningful conversations with your teen. You know that healthy and meaningful conversations with your teen are vital to their emotional, physical, social and spiritual health.


The PROBLEM is knowing how to have those healthy and meaningful conversations is difficult and at times seems impossible. There are a lot of reasons to why you don't feel qualified or able to have these conversations. Maybe you struggle with knowing what is going on in your teen's life. Maybe you struggle with keeping up with technology. Maybe you weren't the best teen and now don't feel qualified to talk with your teen about making healthy choices.


We exist to guide you along this journey and to encourage you. From a biblical basis and our experience, we will give you tools and encouragement to have healthy and meaningful conversations with your teen.

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