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.

Monday, January 24, 2011

This Morning's Encounter with a Young Jedi.


I was in my place. The music was playing as students from Lincoln Academy moved from Central Elementary’s stage, through the Space Center’s revolving doors, and into the Voyager Simulator. I stood on the Bridge looking at my working home for the past twenty years. It was clean and tidy and, if I say so myself, pretty darn good looking for a ship still using technology from its last remodel in 2000.

I heard footfalls on the spiral stairs as the younglings made their last, fateful climb into destiny. I could tell they were 5th graders by their size. I asked the first person who reached the top of the stairway just to be sure. Some Flight Directors love the younger campers, while others prefer older students. Fifth graders usually take longer to train and aren’t as quick on the mental trigger as our older students, but they are so excited to see the simulators for the first time after hearing their older brothers and sisters talk about their field trips from years past.

“Papers,” I requested from each child when they reach the top of the stairs. Some had them ready for examination. Others had to dig them out of their pockets. The line stopped as they unfolded them for inspection. I looked at the papers to see where to seat them. Some waited for me to point them to their chair. Others handed me their papers and walked on, having no clue where to go. I suspected they suffered from a partial brain paralyses brought on by the awesomeness of the Voyager. Their brains fired in overdrive to understand the sights, sounds and smell of the simulator leaving no conscious thought to remind them to stop for direction.

Then, he arrived.

A young blond boy walked toward me from the top of the stairs. He was a dead ringer for the young 10 year old Anakin Skywalker I’d seen in the Star Wars movies. He was dressed in Odyssey blue.

“Papers,” I requested as I reached out to straighten his uniform with his shoulders. I didn’t see them in either of his hands so I assumed they were tucked away in a pocket.
He raised his arm and extended it near my face.

“You don’t want to see my papers,” he said. His eyes focused on mine. His look was stern and determined.

I’ve been taking papers from thousands and thousands of students on the Bridge for the last twenty years and not once has anyone said that to me. A proper response escaped me.

“I need to see your Boarding Pass,” I repeated the demand.

He waved his hand across my face and repeated, “You don’t NEED to see my papers.”

It was then I realized who I was talking to. A Jedi Knight was standing in front of me on my own ship’s bridge, a very young Jedi Knight.

“You’re powers of persuasion are useless here Jedi,” I said my most sinister voice. He smiled and, without delivering a Boarding Pass, walked on to examine every part of the Bridge.

That young boy was clever. He didn’t have his Boarding Pass, so instead of just saying he didn’t have one, he use his imagination and turned the situation. Instead of me thinking he was just another boy suffering from terminal absent mindedness, I thought he was the most clever boy I'd encountered at the top of my stairs this year. Instead of him becoming just another forgotten face like the hundreds and hundreds I see each week, he will be remembered for a long time because he employed the power of creativity.

The lesson is one for all to remember. Imagination is a power as commanding as the Force, and you’ve been blessed with one. Use it or lose it.

Thank you young Jedi for a moment of brilliance this morning. The memory of your seven second interaction with me will last for years to come because you’ve just been given your own post on the Space Center's Blog - whoever you are.

Mr. W.
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