- What does the word “foundation” mean? (A base or support; a body or ground on which something is built, etc.)
A solid foundation lays the groundwork for something strong and mighty to be built on it. We would never want to live in a home or go to a school with cracks in the foundation because it would make the building unstable and could collapse from the lack of support.
The Narrows Bridge was built in Tacoma, Washington in 1940. At the time, it was the third longest suspension bridge in the world. The bridge also had a nickname, “Galloping Gertie,” because of the way it swayed and moved in the wind. Engineers assured everyone the bridge was safe to travel on, even though they had chosen to exceed the normal standards used in building suspension bridges. But only four short months later, the bridge collapsed during a windstorm. Let’s watch the dramatic end to this historic bridge:
Please play the following clip [2:35]:
Tacoma 1940 Tacoma Narrows Bridge Galloping Gertie Collapse, United States
- Would you have traveled on the Narrows Bridge while it swayed from side to side? Why or why not? (Answers will vary.)
The Narrows Bridge was a good example of a structure that did not have a firm foundation. But there are other non-structural foundations we depend on, too.
- What are things you can think of which need a solid foundation? (Answers might include: our family relationships; our church family; a strong friendship; etc.)
- Have you ever experienced a time where a broken foundation destroyed something important to you? (Answers will vary; students might talk about broken friendships or bad attitudes that broke down trust with a parent or sibling, etc.)
The Tacoma Narrows Bridge is known as “the most dramatic failure in bridge engineering history.” Those who designed the bridge had not given it a solid foundation and yet still believed the bridge was safe. How foolish of them! The collapse of this bridge was heard about around the world and made every engineer rethink their designs. Because of this monumental mistake, suspension bridges were redesigned to become safer and stronger and with much more support.
We, too, want to withstand the storms that come into our lives and know we’re not going to be blown over by them. Today, we’ll discuss how we can have a firm foundation in our lives.