At ElegantPi’s aka Brandie’s recommendation, I started reading The Rocket Boys, by Homer H. Hickam, Jr. I’m savoring every word (nope not done yet)—so far it’s superb on so many levels. It’s a powerful memoir about teens living in Sputnik-era 1958. While their fathers toil in the subterranean coal mine in West Virginia, they cast their own aspirations toward starry space. There’s a lot there on themes including following one’s passion, education, self-education, learning by doing and the role of mentors, supporters, parents, and educators.
The quote I included in their group snapshot above is this Rocket Boys conversation:
"Perhaps there’s a break-even point for all propellants."
"We need more tests," I said, "to be certain."
Quentin’s face lit up. At last I had agreed with him. “My boy, although I have had my doubts, there are moments, such as this one, when I believe you are quite capable of learning. How about the science fair this year?”
"We’re not ready," I said. "We still need a book [on rocket science; they’ve been learning mostly by trial-and-error and recording their experiments] so we’ll know what we’re talking about."
Quentin shrugged. “If we keep going the way we are, we can write our own book.”
p.s. My behind-the-scenes work on the Zed Omega site and other conversations here like The Rocket Boys have inspired me to start my own blog to explore how, even though I don’t have my own kids—plenty of nephews and nieces galore, though!—and I’m not formally a teacher, I’d like explore what it might mean to be an encouraging mentor to high school and college-aged youth. I’ll let you know when it’s ready…. - Zephyr