Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Lessons in Life
Hello Blogging Friends!
It's me, Lisa. I am sorry I haven't contributed very much over the summer...ok and the spring, but I'm back. Just like you, I've been busy living life. Unlike my amazing, analytical, organized partner, Shelly, I do not have a list of any of my summer accomplishments. However, I do have a few stories that I think you might enjoy.
In July, I went on a cruise with my aging parents. It was such a blessing to spend an entire week with them on such a beautiful ship cruising the high seas. Although I experienced some difficult, heart-wrenching moments with my father, we saw some amazing sights and met some remarkable people.
James (Jim) Kennedy was one of those remarkable people! One evening, my parents and I were seated with Jim and his delightful wife, Bernie. We exchange the normal casualties: names, home, etc. From the moment we first met, I could tell Jim was a charmer. He was caring, sincere, and engaging. He took particular interest in my father who suffered a spinal cord injury 5 years ago and is confined to a wheelchair. As we talked, I started to put some pieces of the conversation together and realized that our new friend, Jim, was the former Director of NASA who had been introduced to the entire ship in the theater on our first night. Celebrity Cruise Lines offers an educational series for the cruisers and I was eating salmon with the key note speaker! How cool is that?
Honestly, I know very little about NASA or space. I was never a "Trekkie," and I suffered through all of my science courses in high school and college. However, I literally would go to the moon with this new friend of mine, Jim. Although I missed the first class of his series, after our dining experience, I was determined to attend the last two. The next "class" started at 10 pm. During his class, he showed amazing pictures taken in space and talked about his astronaut, political, and famous friends. Jim is a storyteller and I was mesmerized. He also covered many of the technical aspects of sending a rocket ship into space. At the end of his fascinating presentation, he announced that at his last session, he would be sharing with us: "Lessons in Life and Leadership (as inspired by stories of the Good Life at NASA). Now he was talking about my world!
Jim originally created this slide show to present to high school students. It has been so well received that now travels all over the country inspiring students, teachers, professional groups, and even "cruisers" like me. He has over 50 lessons that can be applicable to everyone. With each lesson, he tells a "real life" story. Here are just a few that struck a cord with me:
Lesson #5 Go the Extra Mile: Astronaut Suni Williams ran the 26.2 mile Boston Marathon in space! Jim told us how important it is for astronauts to exercise in space because they lose a percentage of muscle mass while in space. Not only did Suni run, she also made a huge impact on a little girl who shared her name.
Lesson #11 Have Courage in Your Convictions: Jim told us about a young man who saved the space program a huge amount of money by convincing NASA to use orange foam on a fuel tank.
Lesson #27 Teachers Rock! Jim told many stories about the impact that teachers have had on his life. He shared how devastating it was when the Challenger exploded and Christina McAuliffe and the other 6 astronauts died.
Jim Kennedy inspired me with his life lessons. He reminded me that what we do every day is important. Thanks to Jim, I am going to look for life lessons in every day events and share them with my family, friends and students. His final lesson #51: Have Fun, Learn and Get Inspired.
This school year, I am going to do just that! May the force be with you!