When I was a kid in the second or third grade, being an astronaut was to me was a bigger deal than being a professional NBA basketball player or an NFL football player. It was the job that was at the top of the food chain and I dreamed about going into space like Neil Armstrong. Then one day while at school all of the students were gathered into a room together so we could all watch the Challenger Space Shuttle launch into space, and then when the shuttle exploded I developed a deep fear of going into space.
One Utah father must not have developed the same fear of space that I developed, because he has volunteered for the one-way trip to mars that is being planned by Mars One. Going into space is one thing, but going into space to land on a planet where no other human has ever been knowing there’s no way back is on a whole-nother level of scary, but this guy’s willing to do it.
Good for him. This world, no galaxy, needs people who are far more brave than I am. But what this world also needs? Good fathers and good people. Ken Sullivan isn’t some middle-aged single guy who rides wakeboards all day and lives in a one-bedroom apartment. He’s a middle aged married father of three kids. A wife and three kids who he will have to voluntarily leave for the rest of his life and for the rest of their lives–and he didn’t even tell them he was volunteering he was going to move to Mars. Two of Ken’s daughters are going to be grownup by the time he leaves for Mars–if the journey ever happens–but his other child will still be a child when or if he up and leaves forever.
Why is he making the decision to voluntarily leave his family forever? Because Ken Sullivan lives by the following code: “Enjoy life, help people, and don’t hurt others.” Oh, and he wants to make a name for himself because that would be pretty cool. I live by a very similar code of enjoying life, helping people, and not hurting others too, but to me my code means not hurting my family by leaving them forever–or even for more than a week at a time. I can’t imagine the pain I would cause to my daughters if I voluntarily signed up to never see them again. What kind of message would that send to them?
There was a time back in law school where I left my family and I almost lost them forever–and that scared me just like when I was scared after watching the Challenger explode. If I had lost my family I would have seen them again, and I would have been able to spend time with Addie–though Vivi never would have been born–but my family never would have been the same again, and that really scared me. Every aspect or purpose of my life seems to be centered around my family. I exercise in the morning so I can hopefully be healthy when I’m older so I can have more time with my family. I go to work throughout the day so I can support my family. I come home at night so I can spend time with my family. I spend my evenings after my kids go to bed with my wife because I love her. I go to sleep at night so I can be rested enough to do it all over again the next day. Take my family away and what’s the point?
I suppose it is honorable to want to be one who explores space and maybe make it into the history books as one of those major world altering breakthroughs. But to me I think it is more honorable to pass up an opportunity to make a name for oneself because of the damage it would cause to loved ones. What do you think? Which is more important, growing old with family or exploring space?
Photo Credit: Flickr
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