A few weeks ago I was tasked with cleaning out my parents’ attic because it mostly contained my childhood paraphernalia (although my ability to determine it’s worth or throw-away-ability wasn’t that much better than my mom’s so I still wonder what the point of the whole ordeal was other than a strange form of torture.) I uncovered a lot of items I hadn’t seen in years and hold a special place in my heart. A few items I wish I had thrown away when I’d had the chance (i.e. Furbies *shiver*). Some things I didn’t even know existed until I went digging. The problem that I was fighting and have always run up against when trying to avoid attic cleaning is WHAT DO YOU DO WITH ALL THIS STUFF?
People collect a lot of things. Children especially seem to produce “junk” by merely existing. And then we get new things or children grow out of old things or we keep illegibly doodled shreds of paper because it’s sentimental which leaves us with an attic full of JUNK. But amid that junk I found a rather special item: a telescope.
So what do you do with an old, dusty, discarded telescope you’ve found in your attic?
Give it to a girl.
Well, first you check that it works and the missing screw in the tripod stand part doesn’t make it unusable. (It didn’t.) Then you find a little girl to give it to. My boyfriend did the finding and contacted the family of an adorable 1st grader Rachel who also has two younger siblings. She’s currently interested in science and what better to give her than a REAL TELESCOPE so she can look at the stars and moon and sky (or at least spy on her neighbors).
And she was fortunately quite excited. Here’s a thank-you card she made.
Front of Card:
Back: (I’m not quite sure what’s going on here. Stars literally hanging from the sky maybe?)
That excitement for exploring and understanding and questioning the universe in a child makes me giddy! I love seeing it! I love all those commercials (e.g. Microsoft) where little girls are interviewed about how they love science or math or are in the robotics club at school. I love seeing that passion!
I was like that. I had a little science journal where I did “experiments” and recorded all my findings. I loved math like nobody’s business. (When I took Latin in college I realized that I loved it for the same reason. I am the puzzle queen! It doesn’t matter if it’s word puzzles or numbers puzzles, they fascinate me.) I loved magic and fantasy, and to me, science was magic—its ability to explain the impossible or at least attempt to hypothesize about it.
And children deserve that “magic.” Girl or boy. They deserve to explore the wonders of the universe. And in all honesty, it is harder for girls to enjoy that privilege. I wish it wasn’t. I wish girls could be encouraged as much as boys when they say they want to be an astronaut or archeologist or chemist or engineer. I wish that people wouldn’t giggle dismissively when a girl says she wants to design roller coasters for Disney World (or worse, ask them if they wouldn’t rather be a princess?) I also wish it weren’t so complicated—that saying people dismiss girl’s STEM dreams wasn’t too inflammatory of a statement.
I wish there was more that I could do than just give a girl a telescope. But until I figure out what else I can specifically contribute to the cause, I have to satisfy myself with the smile of a little girl with a new/old telescope.
As a side note: What the heck is even happening here? I googled searched “girl with telescope,” and I get Beyonce being all sexy on a table with a telescope that doesn’t even look like it works. AND WE WONDER WHY NO ONE TAKES WOMEN SERIOUSLY IN STEM FIELDS.