US Airways Flight 1549 took off from LaGuardia Airport in New York City on January 15, 2009, and while still climbing hit a flock of birds, blowing out both engines. Cruising at only 3,000 feet, Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger III was at the controls as he considered whether he and the other 154 souls on board could make it to a small airport in New Jersey.
This was not going to happen--the only recourse was to land in the Hudson River and hope for the best. Before we even knew his name, Captain Sullenberger was dubbed a hero.
As we watched the constant replays of this miraculous event on the news, it was only natural to imagine how we might have reacted were we in Sully's shoes. Real heroes usually say they are "ordinary people" who were just doing their job. But surely it goes deeper than this. When there was no time to think, no time to consider the options, no time even to pray, Captain Sullenberger set fear aside and acted, well, heroically.
In this study for youth, we'll consider the characteristics of a true hero and discuss the role that faith might play in compelling us to act heroically ourselves. Can one decide to be a hero or do heroic acts spring from someplace deeper? Can practicing our Christian faith give us the values and the courage to make faithful and even heroic decisions automatically and without regard for our selfish motives or personal concerns?
In addition to the compelling story of Flight 1549, this study for youth offers a nice balance of activities, including a lively call and response game as well as some contemplative time tied to selections from Scripture.