Goals set in motion
In 1943, Richard James, a marine engineer at Philadelphia’s Cramp Shipyard, thought he was involved in a fairly routine design project: developing a meter spring to measure horsepower on naval battleships. Then one of his ideas got away from him, literally. He had accidentally bumped one of his rejected prototype springs off his desk and, you guessed it, the spring tumbled coil over coil across the floor. He had “discovered” the Slinky®. Since that fortuitous day, his company has sparked a toy-making revolution, selling 250 million of these beguiling toys.
In more subtle ways, Messiah educators have set off revolutionary changes in their own lives, communities, and professions, as well—sometimes by design, sometimes by happy accident. Inspired by the contemplative New Year’s season, we asked eight Messiah College educators to reflect on their experiences of setting, achieving, struggling with, or surprising themselves with the outcome of goals they had set. As their reflections and the Slinky® inventor’s experience illustrate, the process is not always linear. In fact, en route to pursuing one goal, these educators often found they were actually on the cusp of achieving an even more surprising and gratifying outcome. And, in the process, they’ve discovered the wonder, joy, and challenge of setting a goal in motion.
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