Friday, August 8, 2008

Busy Building a Net

I don't know if you've heard of Randy Pausch, the Carnegie-Mellon professor diagnosed with terminal cancer last year; he just recently died of what he called his "engineering problem." I've been struck by many things he's said over the last year, but most profoundly by a statement he made on TV, I think on the Diane Sawyer show (I know it's not verbatim, I'm just going to give you the gist - I do that a lot don't I?...):

This man has 3 very young children, and was faced with the task of helping them and their Mom come to grips with his imminent death. When asked about how he handles this, he said, "I know it's sad that I won't get to be around, but it's really them that I feel for... my whole family is perched at the top of a cliff, and I have 2 choices: I can either cry about it, or I can get busy and build them a net."

I like his way of building the net - spending as much time as possible with his family, doing things together that the children will remember. Also, he wrote a book (with a journalist) about life and fatherhood, and referred to the book as a gift for his children when they're older. Isn't that neat?

It got me thinking about the net I'm building for my boys - not because I have terminal cancer (as far as I know), but because someday I won't be around anymore. Two of the best ways I've found: homeschooling and this blog. It's wonderful to be the one to hear their questions, and help them find answers; it's also wonderful to record it here.

I'm really enjoying Pausch's last lecture at Carnegie-Mellon, which he named "Achieving Your Childhood Dreams." It's embedded here, so set aside an hour and 15 minutes to watch it; it is not, as I was expecting, a mushy diatribe on living life to the fullest. Instead it's this vibrant, funny man discussing what he learned in the course of attempting to fulfill his childhood dreams ("Being in zero gravity, Playing for the NFL"). You'll be glad you did - yes, Mom, even you! (My mother has a thing about mushy diatribes on living life to the fullest.)

After listening to a show on NPR about Pausch, I asked Luke what he wants to learn about this year. His list is awesome! Here it is:



Engines, especially motorcycle and other gas engines

Electrical circuits


How to stop global warming

How computers work

I think that'll have us going for the coming homeschool year, don't you?

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