"It is far easier to start something than to finish it."
Today's #wowwomanwednesday may seem like a no-brainer, but I wonder how much you actually know about Amelia Earhart.
I think most people have a general idea of who Amelia Earhart was. Most people know that she was a pilot that set records, but she was so much more.
Amelia was fearless and determined. She was brave and courageous. She was a fighter and a goal-setter. She tried things that were scary and new, and she set records and conquered.
Amelia Mary Earhart was born on July 24, 1897 in Atchison, Kansas. At a young age, she kept newspaper clippings of women that were succeeding in male-dominated careers. When she rode in her first airplane, she knew that she needed to learn to fly. After she got her pilot’s license, she saved up enough money to buy her own plane (the Canary) and set her first record: the first woman to rise to an altitude of 14,000 feet. Years later, she became the first female passenger to cross the Atlantic - a daunting feat, as three pilots had died in the attempt within the year that Amelia succeeded. She later became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic, and went on to set many more firsts for women in aviation.
Amelia advocated for women’s rights, especially within aviation. She was influential to The Ninety-Nines, an organization of female pilots that supported each other and worked for the advancement of female pilots, and she was the first elected president of the organization. She served as a women’s career advisor, as well as an advisor to aeronautical engineering, at Purdue University. She was also part of the National Women’s Party and was an early supporter of the Equal Rights Amendment.
Amelia was goal-oriented. She set over 16 records in aviation. She was determined to prove that women can do what men can do. Her last goal was to fly the longest route (at the time) around the world, and she unfortunately went missing during the attempt and was declared dead two years later though her remains have never been found (there are many theories about her disappearance!). While the end of her life is sad to reflect on, I think Amelia would be proud of how she left this life. She was doing her best to show what she was capable of, and she was doing something she loved.
Amelia wrote a letter to her husband in the event that one of her flights proved fatal. “Please know I am quite aware of the hazards,” she said. “I want to do it because I want to do it. Women must try to do things as men have tried. When they fail, their failure must be but a challenge to others.”
There is so much to learn from Amelia’s bravery and spirit. There are things in the world that are worth doing. They’ll be hard and they’ll require work, but they are possible. There is strength and courage in trying, even if we do not succeed. And we can inspire others to try new things and to push themselves too. How can we know what we are capable of if we are too afraid to try? Amelia’s life gives us the courage to do more than just float along - we can soar.
What we learn from Amelia:
Just because something hasn't been done before does not always mean that it cannot be done. There is power in trying and setting goals.
- Select a record from the Guinness World Records to try and beat together. Pick a record that you think you could beat, or one that you think would be fun to try. There's a Guinness World Records website for kids where you can find some records (https://kids.guinnessworldrecords.com/), the library usually has a Guinness World Records book, or you can make up your own activity to set a record in!
- Think of something that you would like to accomplish in the next year. Something that you will have to work for, but will be enjoyable and rewarding. Examples: Read x number of books, try x new recipes, learn to play an instrument or a hard song on an instrument you already play, try out for a sports team, etc. How will you reach your goal? What will you need to do to prepare to accomplish your goal? Start today!
- Why do you think people try to set records for things? What does it prove?
- Why do you think Amelia wanted to be the first woman to set certain records in aviation? What made her think that it was possible for her to do it? What does her success tell you about what you are capable of?
- Do you think Amelia had to practice to fly, or was she naturally good at it? How does practice help us? What does it teach us?
Want to learn more about Amelia Earhart?
Here are some additional places to learn more about her:
- Amelia Lost: The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart by Candace Fleming
- East to the Dawn: The Life of Amelia Earhart by Susan Butler
- Who Was Amelia Earhart? by Kate Boehm Jerome (illustrated)
- I Am Amelia Earhart by Brad Meltzer (illustrated)
- Amelia Earhart: A Biography by Doris L. Rich
- Last Flight by Amelia Earhart
- Amelia Earhart by Tanya Lee Stone
- The Sound of the Wings: The Life of Amelia Earhart by Mary S. Lovell
- Night Flight: Amelia Earhart Crosses the Atlantic by Robert Burleigh (illustrated)
- Amelia Who Could Fly by Mara dl Corso (illustrated)
- Amelia (2009)
- Night at the Museum 2: Battle of the Smithsonian (2009)
- Amelia Earhart: The Final Flight (1994)
- Amelia Earhart (1976)
- Flight for Freedom (1943)