I was sadden to see the news that Sally Ride died of cancer at only at 61. Although she was the first American female astronaut, a number of women in aviation should have had that honor before her. That, however, was a matter of timing, and from what I understand, she knew that. The love and exploration of space and sharing that excitement was far more important to her than an entry in the history books. I don’t know how many girls and young women she inspired (or boys and young men), but I hope it was hundreds and perhaps thousands.
I’ve written in this blog before about the empowerment of teaching children about science and math and the wonder of space is one of those vehicles we can use. Notwithstanding children who are born with learning challenges, a child’s science and math ability is not determined by family background or their parents’ lack of science and math skills. One of the greatest boosts to give a child is not to make math and science scary. Encourage these skills through whatever means you can and don’t be reluctant to admit that you may not understand it, but that doesn’t mean he or she can’t. And no, not all children have an aptitude, but far more do than pursue math and science because when they first have difficulty with either subject, people have a tendency to say. “Oh, don’t worry about it.” That may be the correct answer, but before giving up on math or science, see if you can find someone to help. Technology has done wonderful things for our standard of living and allowed us to do incredible things like space exploration. Allow kids as often as possible to look at science and math as fun and excitement rather than something to worry about.