Noisy Buses And Rockets

I rode on a noisy bus full of 5th graders last week. It’s pretty awesome because the destination was Forbes Field to build a rocket. I can remember when building a rocket would get you expelled from school. Now, they are encouraging this kind of behavior? What kind of insane person thought this was a good idea? I love it – don’t get me wrong. But let’s be honest – this could get ugly and dangerous and messy and loud and people could get hurt.

BUT – what if it worked? What if – with some careful planning, strong leadership, clear vision, clear plan – and yes, some risk – it worked? That would be awesome. To watch and hear that rocket explode into the air – that would make the mess worth it, right? And the sense of fulfillment? Could that be worth the risk of hurt and failure?

You have to do more than just get on the bus for that to happen, though. You have learn, want to learn, be willing to try different things, listen as well as risk. Getting on the bus isn’t enough. Kids get on the bus then get off thinking ‘Hey — we’re going to blow up a rocket today.” And then something is asked from them. An investment of time, of learning, of process. “This is hard. This is boring. When are going to blow up the rocket?”

“We’re going to build the rocket, learn about the rocket, study about the rocket before we blow it up.”

“That’s stupid. I’m bored. What does this have to do with the rocket?”

And the kid starts to act like an idiot the rest of the trip…and in so doing, never get to the rocket. I mean, how tragic is that? The opportunity to do this is right in front of them and they miss it!

It makes me wonder – why did they get on the bus in the first place? Why not just allow them to stay somewhere else on the field trip? Let them stay home or back at the school with the 1st graders.

I think some people treat church this way. They just get on the bus — because they have to, their friends are on the bus, the bus is cool looking and has a kickin’ stereo. Or maybe the driver is one hip dude or dudette. They just get on the bus and then when the bus stops and something is asked of them, they just freak out.

They didn’t get on the bus to invest in the process. To risk or learn. And it didn’t matter how many times they were told – “This is where we are going and this is what we are going to do” – they are shocked that the rocket building doesn’t just happen. That there is a learning curve that has to be experienced and that it is worth it…if you’re willing.

2010 is screaming to a halt, 2011 is knocking on the door. Here’s my challenge to us this year. Do more than just get on the bus. Take the risk. Make the investment. Yes, it will be messy at times. Yes, it will be work at times and there is a learning curve. But it’s worth it. And what we do is way cooler than blowing up rockets.


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