Neil DeGrasse Tyson and Jim Lovell on Failing

Neil deGrasse Tyson on failure and experimenting:

…it’s not only admitting or celebrating when you don’t know something, but also recognizing the value of failure. You don’t want to fail doing something that has already been done where people succeeded. You want to be able to fail at something that has never done before and recognize that the day you never fail is the day you are no longer on the frontier of anything. So we should celebrate the experiment.

Jim Lovell on Appollo 13’s legacy:

Not landing on the moon was probably the best thing that ever happened to NASA. …it looked like it was so routine that people were not getting interested any more and not realizing the amount of technology and work that had to be done to make those flights safe…. 

References:

Why do we Lose Creativity? 

Last night my son started dragging our old vacuum cleaner up the stairs, asking me to tear it apart so he could see how it works. That way, he could get started inventing his anti-gravity machine with enormous vacuums at the top and bottom. Of course, I was happy to oblige.

It made me think, why do we tend to lose that creativity? How can I, as an educator and father, encourage, protect, and even reinvigorate that spark? 

Grand Prix Cars and Growth Mindset

It’s Awana Grand Prix time, so that means it’s the time that I need to become an amateur (very amateur) woodworker. I’ve always tried to make sure the kids are as involved as possible, but every now and again it comes back to bite me.

This year, my oldest’s design included a “t” with a slant. It was fun to work through it with him as we tried to figure out what tools to use and how to make the cuts. After I’d made the initial cuts, I asked him again if he really wanted those slants.

“Is it going to be too hard for you?” was his response.

Hit me right in the ego, he did. “Well, it’ll be hard, anyway,” I replied. The challenge had been issued.

Maybe it was because I was trying to hurry up to get it done in time for class, but it made me think of the growth mindset we’ve been talking about. A fixed mindset approach would’ve just said, “I don’t know how to do that” and been done with it. But, even though it was primarily ego-driven, I had an opportunity to show my son an example of growth mindset.

“It’s hard, but I can figure it out” may be one of the best lessons I can teach my kids.