Rocket Boys

We made water propelled bottle rockets this week with Noah’s Cub Scout Den (I’m the Den Leader).  It’s a pretty easy project including a soda bottle or two, some tape, glue, foam board and an exacto knife.  It took a bit to get going — not surprising with eight first graders — but they soon got into it and were excited to try it out.

Even though the rockets were technically for our next Pack meeting (the big group of all Cub Scouts), we decided to give them a try even though the glue wasn’t quite dry and there was a strong possibility of destruction on impact.  They boys had a blast (no pun intended).  With the help of a dad, they put their rockets on the launch pad, someone did the hard work on the bicycle pump, and then one of the boys pulled a release string.  Up they went, some much higher than others, some in spirals of craziness, some with a loud woosh.  Seriously a blast (okay, that one was intended).

Some of my friends had those handheld plastic water rockets from the 70s and early 80s when I was a kid.  Same sort of principle on a smaller scale.  FIll up a plastic rocket with a little water, pump in some CO2 and once the pressure has built, release a trigger.  I suspect you cant’ find them today as much because boys like aiming projectiles at each other.

Noah oozed excitement. He couldn’t wait to see his launch, and wanted to pull the trigger-release string.  All smiles.  What surprised me was how much I loved it too.  Seeing what would happen when one of the boys let ‘er rip, watching how different designs impacted flight. Laughing hysterically when one of the rockets literally blew apart.

I’ve always loved the movie “October Sky.”  It’s about some boys from coal mining country who get consumed with making rockets around the time of Sputnik, and the science project that results.  It’s about following your dreams and passions and finding the joy in the simple things of life.

Sometimes it’s easy to lose your focus in life.  We get so used to consuming — be it entertainment, social media, food, and whatnot — that we don’t really experience all the fullness of life out there for us.  Like focusing on people rather than things or having fun.  Or taking an hour and building a water bottle rocket with my son and watching it shoot up into the evening sky.  That was a highlight of the day for me.  And today I’m drinking a bit more soda than I usually do so we can build another rocket this weekend.