letter to the editor

Imagination is more important than knowledge

Posted:  Monday, May 14, 2018 - 7:15pm

Dear Editor:

One persistent person with courage, and high expectations of his special needs class, made a major impact at NASA’s space camp that carried on to more than 3,000 special needs kids and provided NASA with true-to-life knowledge of what it means to have the right stuff to solve unexpected outer space problems.

In 1989, space camp was only available to what we might think were the top intellectual students who could become future astronauts. They had focused on the need for knowledge when they really needed imagination. The first to see that was a Michigan football coach, Mike Jerges, also a special needs teacher.

To the school administration a price tag of $50,000 made this “mission impossible.” Today too many of us think using imagination over knowledge to solve unexpected problems is “mission impossible.”  States, towns, and cities often ignore solving problems like education funding, treatment of all peoples, special needs students, etc, because they forget imagination and what can be accomplished when we work together. 

Even the administrators at Space Camp had not considered the value of imagination in solving scientific problems.  The other unexpected event was how the $50,000 came to the school so the kids could travel to Space Camp where they would compete for various challenge events.  An unexpected owner of a local burger joint who loved and hired special needs kids knocked on the coach’s door. When need is there so should be your imagination.

Recently our legislators created a group home crisis by giving up, stating saving lives  is “mission impossible.” Where is their imagination? Where is their coach who uses what is possible with imagination and tosses out “impossible” thoughts? 

If a coach with kids who had Tourette’s or bipolar syndrome, autism, ADHD, ADD and OCD accepted into space camp, and won, first, second, and third place awards and their dyslexic student leader who could not read until 9th grade, became the winner of having the “right stuff” to become an astronaut, then our legislators can do the same.  We have higher expectations of our legislators. 

Jarryl Larson