I originally wrote this blog post for my old page. In honor of the 33rd anniversary of the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion, I wanted to share it here today. Christa has become a hero to me. She wasn’t afraid to do the impossible to inspire her students. The loss of the Challenger crew was so tragic but 33 years later she is still touching the future and inspiring teachers and students.
We went to Kennedy Space Center on a field trip with our home education support group two years ago and had the pleasure of returning this past August for the FIRST LEGO League Into Orbit Florida Season Kickoff. Our first trip we had scheduled it to coincide with a rocket launch but it got delayed. Even without it, we weren’t disappointed. The Kickoff was also supposed to have a launch that night but sadly it got scrubbed too. This is an account of our first trip.
As much as we can sit at home and read books about the Space Program, there is a lot to be said about seeing it all up close.
We headed to the Atlantis exhibit first and we never managed to leave, there was so much to do. It’s fascinating to see the process of designing the Shuttle. It was a very magical moment when they finish the video and draw up the screen to reveal Atlantis in all her glory.
Probably the highlight was the simulator, where you get to feel what it would be like to experience a launch. I’ll admit, as someone that doesn’t do rides, there were a few moments where my stomach was questioning my decision to experience it. However, watching my 7-year old’s excitement made it worth it.
My hope with the field trip was to inspire the kids in our homeschool group. To spark an interest in engineering and space. I didn’t realize how much of a profound effect the trip would have on me. But then, God has always used home education for my personal education too.
While everyone had gone on the simulator for the first time, I had strolled around with my 1-year-old because he was too little to ride. I went into the exhibit that commemorated the Shuttle disasters, Challenger and Columbia. I was 7 years old when Challenger exploded, and remember seeing it on the news. I always found it so sad that Christa McAuliffe, the teacher on board, had died as her students watched live.
As I walked around the exhibit I came to her memorial. As I stood there reading, the quote they had by her made me cry.
I touch the future. I teach.S. Christa McAuliffe
It was one of those moments when suddenly you realize what you are doing. So often we can see our role as a mother as insignificant. Let’s face it, we don’t have a glamorous job. Our kitchen will never have a Michelin Star Rating. We will never be named Time Magazine’s Person of the year, or be listed on the Forbes Top Earners list, or be on the cover of Vogue. That doesn’t mean we won’t have a profound effect on the future.
Christa seized an opportunity to fulfill a childhood dream but also she knew that it was an opportunity to inspire children. Her hope was that her example would be an inspiration to get students interested in science and the space program.
As I stood there my reality hit me. I had never wanted to be a teacher, the thought of being stuck in a room with kids all day sounded like torture. I always thought I would do something in law or business. Isn’t it funny how God’s path for our lives is different than the one we think?
I wondered what Christa would think of our homeschool group and the mission that is on my heart to help make STEAM education more accessible. I teach, so I am touching the future. I will never do great things but I can equip a generation that will. Just like Nancy Edison, I can watch my children flourish and in some small way be part of the future.
Your greatest accomplishment as a mom may not be something you do but, SOMEONE YOU RAISE.
Heidi St. John – Becoming Mom Strong
As we took the tour of the Heroes and Legends exhibit at Kennedy Space Center, it became clear that all these amazing astronauts and engineers and scientists had had a spark lit in them by someone. Someone had inspired them. Someone had touched their future. Many said their parents, some said teachers and a few said movie stars. They all had a champion, that cheered them on.
Whether you are a homeschool mom to one child, or a homeschool co-op teacher, or a teacher in a school, or if you touch the lives of children in any way you are touching the future. Don’t underestimate how powerful that is or how much of a responsibility it is either.
When we were at the First Lego League Jr Expo at Legoland the MC was a rocket scientist from NASA. He told us that they are working on the Mars Project right now and that in the 2030s the first human will set foot on Mars. He said that person is between the age of 7 and 17 years old right now. Even if your child isn’t that person, the engineers, the control room and all the other moving parts that will put that project together will be manned by that generation too.
If we have contact with that generation, then we are touching the future, we are touching Mars and all the other amazing things this extra special generation of children will do.