Moonwalks and Mechanics

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There's a reason people go into such strict training for space: It's a different experience and it takes a while to get adjusted. I learned about this the first time I ever tried to use a snorkel.

I've been a competitive swimmer since I was nine. I loved baths as a kid. I know my way around water. But one day while at practice for college swimming, my coach handed me a snorkel. This plastic tube was supposed to allow me to focus on my stroke and shoulder rotation because I didn't have to think about turning my head to breathe. It was some newfangled way for coaches to look at your stroke.

Well, I knew how these things worked, so I plopped the mouthpiece between my teeth and stuck my face under the water and took a couple of strokes.

At that point it was time to breathe.

I couldn't.

My face was under water and my lungs refused to let me breathe in. It was a very odd sensation. My brain was telling me to breathe and I wasn't. I couldn't. The mechanics of breathing were off--my face was underwater, which, as any rational person knows, is a bad place to be breathing.

Now, I don't know what it's like to be in space, but if it's anything like snorkeling--or scuba diving, as my more recent experience demonstrated even more vividly--then I would guess that the first moonwalk was difficult. I wouldn't be surprised if the focus was entirely on the mechanics of walking on the moon, and not so much about how totally amazing it was to be, you know, walking on the moon.

When my scuba instructor told me that going underwater was a little "crazy" because of the bubbles everywhere, the sounds, the equipment and everything else, I smiled. 'Oh come now,' I thought. 'I've experienced the "crazy" of snorkeling. I'm ready for this.'

And then I went underwater and thought, 'Oh my! But this is crazy!'

I spent almost the entire hour feeling the craziness of the situation. I didn't focus on the fish, the sharks, the turtles, or even the octopus. I was too worried about breathing, keeping water out of my goggles, and finding a more "weightless" state.

I wonder if the first years of homeschooling are like that?

I wonder how many families are so caught up in the mechanics of homeschooling the first year or so that they can't enjoy the wonder, joy, and experience of the incredible adventure they are on.

If other families are like me, may I suggest you relax, even if you feel like you shouldn't be breathing underwater.

~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Expectant Father

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