Inspiration from Alexander Graham Bell
Estimated Lesson Time: 2 minutes
Alexander Graham Bell (1847–1922) was the inventor of the telephone.
Success is following your heart. Throughout his life, Bell had been interested in the education of deaf people. Pursuing this interest ultimately led him to the invention of the telephone.
Success is having vision. Shortly after the telephone’s invention, Bell had written to his father, “The day is coming when telegraph wires will be laid on to houses just like water or gas—and friends will converse with each other without leaving home.”
Success is being a keen observer. Bell was a gifted pianist, who as a teenager, noticed that a chord struck on one piano would be echoed by a piano in another room. He realized that whole chords could be transmitted through the air, vibrating at the other end at exactly the same pitch. In the years to come, this simple observation would eventually lead him to the creation of the telephone.
Success is asking the right questions. Bell hoped to convey several messages simultaneously, each at a different pitch. However, he could not see a way to make-and-break the current at the precise pitch required. He would eventually find the answer to his question, “How could pitch be conveyed along a wire?”
Success is being inspired. While visiting London, Bell and his father were fascinated by a demonstration of Sir Charles Wheatstone’s “speaking machine.” Upon their return to Edinburgh, Melville Bell, Sr. (Alexander’s father) challenged Alexander and his older brother to come up with a model of their own.
Success is overcoming adversity. Alexander Graham Bell had his share of personal tragedies. In the late 19th century, when Tuberculosis was at its peak, the disease claimed the lives of both of his brothers within the span of four months. Bell himself was battling the disease when, at age 23, he moved with his parents to Canada, where they would seek out a more “healthy” environment. Alexander eventually did recover from the disease.
Success is generosity. In testimony to the effectiveness of his work and generosity of his spirit, Helen Keller would dedicate her autobiography to Alexander Graham Bell.
Success is promotion. Alexander Graham Bell introduced the telephone to the world at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia in 1876.
Success is continuing to do what you are passionate about. After Bell had become rich and famous for his invention of the telephone, he continued to make contributions to the world of science and technology through his inventions.
Success is sharing. Eager to infuse a love of science and the natural world in others, Bell lent considerable financial and editorial support to both Science Magazine and National Geographic.
[Sources: http://www.fitzgeraldstudio.com, http://www.pbs.org]
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Some discussion questions (some may not apply to this lesson):
- Have you implemented this idea in your life? How has it been working for you?
- Do you have any interesting stories related to this lesson? Do tell!
- What do you admire most about this person? (success biography days)