One of the best blessings from our frequent visits to
the Cape came from the astronauts themselves—yes, the men and women who live,
breathe, eat, and sleep their dreams of going to space. They devote much of
their time to their space training and their own families, but they do make a
special effort to share their stories and dreams with children of all ages.
They always take time to reach out to children, and what a legacy of influence
they have left us!
We met many of the astronauts, attended their
presentations, watched home movies of their childhoods, and heard them share
some of their own experiences of growing up. We always came away so fired up
about space and each child's opportunity to follow his or her dreams. These
astronauts demonstrated their commitment and love of their work in all that
they did, and I am so thankful that they shared this with children.
You see, they very carefully shared their own stories,
with the emphasis on "whatever your dream is—follow it!" They
stressed the importance of doing your best, studying hard, and not giving up,
demonstrating the meaning of commitment
by their own efforts. Our children have autographs of many astronauts, but what
they hold in their hearts are the astronauts' stories, hopes, and words of
I thank God for our astronauts—for those that we have
lost and for those that will now carry on the adventure. They will motivate
unknown numbers of children (and many adults) to follow their dreams and strive
to do their best, and somehow, coming from these people who know what it means
to do just this—it is a priceless gift, indeed.