Visit SpaceCampUtah.org to learn more about the Space Education Centers in Utah. Visit SpaceGuard.org and ProjectVoyager.org for information on joining a simulator based school space and science club.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

A Few Thoughts on the Week and Growing Up.

Hello Troops,
A few interesting tid bits for the week. I’ll begin by crying foul to one of the campers that told me to stop calling everyone “Troops”. Don’t know why she didn’t like it. She also complained that some of ‘us’ (namely me) were to strict. Guess she thought the whole camp was a bit boot campish. All I can say is “Sorry Troops”.

The word “Troops” has always been my thing. I could use other words like Folks or People or Kids or Annoyances or Pests etc. The list could go on and on. But I choose not to. Troops is it for me. It carries no emotion. It tells you where you are (our pretend world of space travel) and it carries a feeling of teamwork.

We are at war today. We have troops in foreign nations fighting wars against extremists. At home we fight a different kind of war. This homefront war is against ignorance and poverty. We fight daily battles as we create a great society of well educated, thinking, dreaming, and caring people. A nation of ambitious people inspired by the past and driven to achieve impossible goals. This is the war I fight daily when I open the Space Center's doors. Its a war you fight every time you open a text book or write a paper. It is a war for your future. It is a war to make a better world for you and your children for I believe it is a generation’s duty to leave American better for the following generations. I plan on doing just that in my own small and simple way. So, are you with me on this? If so, then I proudly call you troops.

Now, moving on......

We had a good week overall. Mrs. Houston was out all week as she recovers from surgery. Mrs. Clegg was gone most of the week with the flu. The rest of us had to muck in and get the job done and we did, thanks to a great gaggle of outstanding staff. We are well into finals for our university students. So I have to hand it to them for being so helpful as we reclaim our staff from their sickbeds.

Wasn’t it cold this last week? Every morning I debated whether I should walk or drive to school. Being one willing to accept a personal challenge I decided not to let the cold stop me. I walked every morning this week in that 5 degree temperature. I’m happy to report that I wasn’t the only one either. I know for a fact that Josh A. also walked to school in the cold along with a few of our other stalwart staff that don’t need to wimp out every day and get a ride to school.

Every morning I’m passed by a steady stream of minivans full of perfectly healthy junior high students being carted down my hill to the junior high school below. ITS A FIFTEEN TO TWENTY MINUTE WALK FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE. Every morning I wonder why aren’t those kids walking? Why do they need a ride? What’s wrong with their own two legs? Honestly, what kind of generation are we raising? Its time to toughen up people. Leave the minivan in the garage, put on your coat and walk to school. You can do it. All you have to do is put one foot in front of the other and, as if by a miracle, you move forward. Many of us old timers walked to school and home every day until we were old enough to drive. Ask your parents and grandparents. Walking in the cold and wet creates attitude and spirit. You get to see the seasons change. You get to know your community because you are out in it - not being carted around in a metal cage on wheels with heated and conditioned air and an endless supply of mind numbing music and video games. Naw..... get out there and feel the frost bite. Get out there and get chased by the dog. Get out there and actually see the homes in your neighborhood and meet the people that live around you. Breathe a few car fumes. Find a quarter on the road. Get your heart beating and burn a pound or two while having laugh with your friends for twenty minutes or so.

Listen, growing up means losing that bubble wrap you're sheltered in as a child. If you don't you are in for a tough awakening when you get older and mom and dad are no longer willing or able to shield you from the lessons of life any longer. You’ll be expected to stand on your own two feet and deal with the problems life throws your way. You'll need to rely on your instinct, education and morals. You'll learn quickly there is very little tolerance in this world for people that can’t deal with the ups and downs, so you might as well start learning to cope now rather than wait until your 18 and suffering from extreme shell shock while crying yourself to sleep in some university dorm. It may be ‘cute‘ when you’re a kid to have help putting on your shoes and zipping your coat but by the time you’re in 7th grade you should be able to do it yourselves. I think you get the point I'm trying to make.

I challenge you teens to step up to the plate and start toughening up if you haven’t already started. Consider the following:

  1. Walk to school if you live close enough.
  2. Learn to wash your own clothes. Learn to cook something besides toast.
  3. Take responsibility for your grades and actions. If you make a mistake admit it. You don’t need to hide behind mom and have her fight your battles for you. Please believe me when I tell you that it really makes you look immature when you do. Teachers see this all the time - bratty kids that have a permanent mommy shield in front of them to absorb the consequences of their actions so they don’t have to. Listen, as a teacher, I respect a student that stands and faces the consequences for their behaviour and decisions. I respect a parent even more that steps out of the picture and lets junior or missy take the consequences.
  4. Learn when to display the ‘cool‘ you and when to be the ‘real‘ you. Popularity is important at your age. You want to fit in more than anything else. I understand that. I understand the pressure you’re under to conform to the group. For much of the time at school you display the ‘cool‘ you so you fit in. You guard what you say and do to fit in. Taking that as a given, I urge you to not to let the ‘real‘ you get too far hidden during these tough teen years. Let it out from time to time. Who knows, people may even like the natural you better than the 'cool' you (unless of course you are naturally 'cool'. If so, come and give me a few lessons).
  5. Watch the ‘attitude’. You know what I mean.

OK troops. That’s my two cents.

Now Take on the Week!
Mr. Williamson
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