Highlights for Children, 35 years ago

photo-71My mom’s been cleaning out some closets, and realized she’d held on to some old Highlights for Children from mine and my brothers’ childhoods. She brought a bag of them for my boys to look at.

I was paging through the issue from December 15, 1978, and enjoyed reading a short profile of “Sally Ride: Scientist-Astronaut.” The piece was written by Molly Tyson, Ride’s college roommate, a few years before Ride’s pioneering space flight. The piece made clear that astronauts were chosen for brains and brawn. Ride was training for the Boston marathon. She’d earned her PhD in astrophysics from Stanford. She was chosen from more than 1000 applicants.

It was a nice profile, but there were two rather poignant things that came to mind looking at a piece written for children in 1978. First, I wonder if Ride and Tyson, back in 1978, would have imagined that in 2013 there would still be so much ink spilled on women’s career choices, and on the “first” women doing various things. 

And second, we seem to have lost our outer space ambition. Here’s a quote from Ride: “I became an astronaut for one reason…I am fascinated by outer space. I always have been. Besides who could turn down the chance to go up in space? Thirty years from now, when they’re selling round-trip tickets to Mars, it might not be as exciting, but right now it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

Round-trip tickets to Mars? Thirty years after the Highlights article would bring us to 2008. Let’s just say we didn’t hit that milestone. Space is still pretty much a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Too bad!

In other news: The paperback of What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast, will be out August 27. This book bundles my 3 short e-books on productivity, and includes some bonus time management tips and time makeovers. If you’d be interested in blogging about the book, please let me know: lvanderkam at yahoo dot com. Thanks so much.

3 thoughts on “Highlights for Children, 35 years ago

  1. Funny, I’ve been reading quite a lot lately all of a sudden about the possibility of Mars travel and colonization. The Obama Admin gave NASA a mandate to send astronauts to Mars by the 2030s. But the private sector is where the smart money is on Mars exploration: Dennis Tito wants to send a 50-ish married couple on a 501-day flyby in 2018. The Dutch nonprofit MarsOne wants to start colonizing Mars within a decade; and has plans for a “Survivor”-style reality show to select six teams of 4 from among the 78,000 civilian applications they’ve already received.

    Stephen Hawking sees a colony on Mars and elsewhere as essential to keep the human species going (we shouldn’t have all our eggs in one basket or on one planet), but figures it won’t happen within the next 100 years. I tend to agree.

    1. @hush – Within a decade seems unlikely! But who knows. Maybe there will be some sort of huge breakthrough…

  2. we can run something in spanish about your book — ask your publisher if they would translate — I could help you hispanicize your stuff — honestly I didn’t read these on e reader but would buy in paperback so thanks ! let me know about making your self help available en español I’d love to work with you on that !
    I try to change the submarine drivers names to girl names when they are inside their wet suits but my daughter always corrects me — their is womens’ studies feminism and then there is REAL LIFE– and sticking to the story mom !

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