As astronaut is someone you look up to literally. Talking with your children about Sally Ride is a way to teach them about an important hero. You could start a great conversation about heroes. Young kids might share their own heroes, which will probably range from Batman to a Tyrannosaurus Rex if you were asking the question in my household. Older kids could talk about the pros and cons of looking at otherwise ordinary humans as heroes. One of the most profound dangers, of course, is that the more we turn our success stories into heroes, the more we make excuses for our own selves about why we aren’t following in their footsteps, the assumption of course, being that we are not heroes ourselves.
However, I think there is still something to be said for honoring the people that have made a difference. In the words of our President, ”As the first American woman to travel into space, Sally was a national hero and a powerful role model. She inspired generations of young girls to reach for the stars and later fought tirelessly to help them get there by advocating for a greater focus on science and math in our schools. Sally’s life showed us that there are no limits to what we can achieve and I have no doubt that her legacy will endure for years to come.”
The illustration above is by children’s author and illustrator Micah Player. According to publisher Lara Starr, “the image features the character Lately, Lily an adventurous young girl who travels the world with her family. Her appreciation for Sally Ride’s boundary-breaking life is shared by many, especially the legions of young girls she inspired to study science and reach for the stars.”
So go, start a conversation, and bring your children that much closer to their own stars.