The making of the Wright Brothers—the need for families and parents to provide confidence and encouragement early on in the lives of their children.
Today I went to the National Air and Space Museum in DC. I have to admit that learning about space isn’t that interesting to me, but I loved exhibit about the Wright brothers. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, Wilbur and Orville Wright revolutionized the study of aerodynamics and built the world’s first successful airplane. They were social entrepreneurs in every sense.
What I learned is way too exhaustive for a Tumblr post, but I especially enjoyed reading about all of the factors that influenced the brothers and guided them to their discoveries. Here are some of the factors I found most notable:
1. They came from a family of religious intellectuals who had been active in various social reform movements like abolition, temperance, and women’s rights.
2. The brothers placed a lot of value on family relationships.
3. They were highly supported and encouraged by their parents to explore and learn.
4. Their parents instilled in them self confidence that allowed them to reject preexisting theories that had been developed by formally educated scientists.
5. They grew up in a city that, at the time, was highly conducive to technological innovation.
6. They learned about a wide variety of subjects and pursued careers in printing and bicycle repairing; they applied the multifaceted knowledge they had gained to their studies of aerodynamics.
7. They were enthusiastic and optimistic.
8. They approached the problem in a new way—they didn’t just ask why, but how.
It was interesting to see how much Momma and Papa Wright influenced the incredible work of these two brothers. If we want to see more people like Wilbur and Orville, we can start by instilling confidence in our young people—confidence to question, confidence to experiment, confidence to fail and confidence to keep trying. Only then will we see a world in which each person realizes his or her role in solving the problems of our day.
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