Of Life and Model Rockets

My son is taking Model Rocket classes this summer. Their teacher, Mr. Arnel Noel, instructs the class on how to build model rockets. Yesterday, the kids launched their rockets for the first time. Our whole family accompanied my son as he was excited to launch the rocket that he had been working on for the past week.

We only learned about the launching last Thursday. Previous to that, I had already made an appointment in connection with my book project for the same time and day. I was looking forward to making progress with the book that weekend but also wanted to be with my son to share his excitement. Of course, the son and the rocket won out in the end. The book project meeting has been re-set to Monday.

Life’s like that most of the time. It can throw things at you at the last minute. Faced with such a situation, we look to our priorities and decide.

Yesterday, was a nice sunny day for a rocket launch. The parents were excited for their kids and their rockets. Some rockets flew really high. One exploded. Others had to go through several attempts (3 or 4) before finally taking off. A lot like life too.

The rockets which flew really high on the first try reminded me of joyful days. These are days in life when everything seems to be going fine. What is there to do? We enjoy and savor the moment.

The rocket which exploded reminded me of days when things didn’t go right. We may work hard on certain things. We may have planned things perfectly but in the end, something goes wrong. We cannot control things around us and how situations go. But we can control how we react to such situations and how we can have the resolve to build again.

The rockets which went through several attempts before finally taking off reminded me of days when nothing seems to be happening. No progress. No improvement. We just seem to stay still and not move on. In such situations, we just need to find it in us to repeatedly try and do better. If we try hard or frequently enough, we will get things right sometime.

I picked up a few other lessons while there on the launch pad — lessons related to balance, excellence and pride, and sharing. For example, you need to position the fins of your rocket properly (quite close to the bottom part) for it to have the proper balance. Otherwise, your rocket may launch and fly a curve rather than going high straight up. Just like in life. You have to be balanced and grounded for you to fly real high.

You need to do things properly and right. You must have pride in your work. You must strive to be excellent. An engine or a motor that is not made well, can lead a rocket to explode.

Lastly, all kids were allowed two launches for their rockets. It was the teacher’s rule though that you can only go for your second launch when all kids have launched their rocket at least once. In life, we must learn to play fair and wait for our turn. We should not strive to have things all for ourselves but must give everybody an equal chance to enjoy. To learn. To live.

We went to yesterday’s activity thinking that it would be good for our son for us to be there. We didn’t realize that the model rockets would also give us some unexpected lessons in life.

One Response to “Of Life and Model Rockets”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Sadly, Mr. Arnel Noel has just passed away. Please pray for his soul.

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