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Don’t Brace for Impact, Build the Parachute


This week, my daughters have been working on the long-beloved egg experiment in science. As many of you will recall from your own schooling, the idea is to protect an egg such that when it is dropped from a high place, the egg does not break. Parents were asked to provide children with materials from home to accomplish this goal.


Immediately, I set about the house looking for a container to hold the egg, bubble wrap and protection to fit inside, and anything/everything that could help the egg to brace for impact. I confidently placed the materials into two grocery bags, and sent my girls to school the next day feeling like they were prepared and I had done my job.


Yesterday, as I picked my girls up from school, they were so excited to tell me about their egg experiment solutions that they were talking over each other. Loudly. After a moment, my pragmatist began to tell me about the materials she chose, how she built the egg “shelter”, but then she started talking about using the grocery bag. I was unable to process why she would need the bag, so I asked her to tell me again. She had used the bag to create a parachute for the egg dome. As simple as this sounds, it blew my mind.

As an adult/former federal government employee/insert other identity politics here, I have spent much time reacting to things that happen. Though I’ve been taught to focus on building parachutes, I’ve been conditioned to brace for impact. I suspect that the same is true for many of us, as we fall victim to never-ending task lists and tactical fatigue. Look up from the task list. Refocus your gaze and build the parachute.

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