Call me sentimental but as I mused about Valentine’s Day and true sacrificial love, I pulled out one of my favorite NestLearning Animated Hero Classics DVDs is about one such heroic woman, Marie Curie. She had a devoted husband who loved her and did his best to give her the honor that she deserved, even when it meant risking his standing in the educational, business and intellectual community.
As I watched the film, I couldn’t help but think how blessed my daughters are to have been born in a different time than she. Marie was Polish in Russian-occupied Poland in the late 1800s. She overcame poverty and significant ethnic and gender discrimination to become one of the most influential people of all time. She is credited with discovering radium and polonium (which she named after her homeland.) Marie Curie was one accomplished lady.
Marie was the first female recipient of a doctorate, the first female university professor, the first female recipient of the Nobel Prize (in physics) and the first ever to receive two Nobel Prizes (the second in chemistry). She was loyal to her family and at a young age, postponed her studies in order to fund the education of her older sister. She was left widowed by her husband’s accidental death, yet as a single mother of two daughters, she nevertheless continued to contribute immensely to mankind.
Her daughters both shared her love of science. Among other accomplishments, one wrote Marie’s biography, and the other joined Marie in X-Ray research, earning a Nobel Prize in chemistry herself. Marie chose the greater good, forsaking wealth to give to society the results and benefits of her talents, giftings and hard work. She was selfless, even sacrificial. And in the end she died of cancer because of exposure to the very things that she discovered, which ironically now help to fight the disease. She wrote in her diary:
“Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.”
How do you help your children appreciate the struggles, perseverance and accomplishments of the mighty women that cleared the path for those that have followed?