STEM Inspiration: The Wright Brothers

David McCullough is one of our time’s greatest historians. In 2015, he published a book about some great STEM heroes. His book did not disappoint! The Wright Brothers* does a wonderful job of detailing Wilbur and Orville’s journey from bike shop proprietors to pioneers of flight. They started as sons of a preacher. They were bicycle mechanics. They did not have billions to fund their endeavors. They changed the world through tinkering and experimenting.

If you’re curious about what was at least one aspect of the brothers’ success, David McCullough describes it best on page 18 of his book. A friend was speaking with Orville Wright, talking about how Orville and Wilbur epitomized the American Dream–of how someone with no special advantages could become someone who changed the world. Orville responded that he did have a special advantage. He grew up in a family where “there was much encouragement to intellectual curiosity.”

Let that be a lesson to us all. Rather than spending all of our time in the pursuit of entertainment, let’s spend a portion of our time encouraging our children’s intellectual curiosity. We should help our kids understand the world, and if not understand the world, we should help our kids understand how to examine and analyze the world. Who knows what they may be able to accomplish.

*I don’t make anything from this link.


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