Small Steps are Giant Leaps

about Aaron Sheldon and his little astronaut

What is the very moment when we cease to step into the shoes of an astronaut, to gravitate lightly on the surfaces of any experience and start all over again, as if nothing was only destined to memories or nostalgia? When do we start to go from amazed explorers to naive dreamers or deluded?
Certainly the habit of things has its faults, but perhaps there is something else. Something we keep neglecting…

Aaron was riding the bus with his three year old son. What was a normal, everyday event to him had the child completely transfixed. Seeing that look of amazement on his face at something so commonplace really struck him. He realized that his son is an explorer, and the world he take for granted, to that explorer, is an amazing place filled with new sites and experiences. He knew that he wanted to somehow document that journey of exploration but had no idea how he was going to do it.

Getting There in Style

Later that same week, the little explorer got an ear infection and needed to go to the doctor’s office. Unlike most three-year-olds, he loves the doctor’s office — every part that is except for the exam table. He just had two fears: hand dryers and exam tables, and Aaron was continually trying to find ways to help him face and overcome his fears.

As they sat waiting for the doctor, Aaron asked his son if he would sit on the exam table. Of course his answer was no. So then Aaron asked him what type of people were brave enough to sit on exam tables. They discussed the usual cast of brave people: police officers, firefighters, etc. The little explorer said “What about astronauts, Dad? Are they brave enough?” He said “Sure they are. After all, they sit on top of rockets and get blasted into space and, before they do that, they have to go to the doctor’s office a lot!”.


They pretended that he was an astronaut, and he sat on the exam table with no problem. When his exam was over, Aaron told his son how proud he was of him for being brave like an astronaut. He said to his father “Next time I get sick, I can wear my astronaut helmet here and you can take a picture of me, right dad?”.

One spacesuit, two helmets, and more than 14 photoshoots later, Aaron was so proud of his little astronaut. He really enjoyed working with his father on the project, and they’ve used it to help him get over his fear of hand-dryers, exam tables, and hair clippers. They have shot everywhere from the museum to the city pool. They have had great local companies allow them access to movie theaters, old-school barber shops, $600 a night hotel rooms, and, back where it all began, the city bus.

Training Films

The purpose of this project is to take the images that Aaron created with his son and turn them into a book and gallery show that shares their journey. His goal is that these images will remind other moms or dads out there who may be losing their patience in line at the grocery store or coffee shop that our kids aren’t just acting like fools — they are exploring new frontiers.

Our job as parents is to act as their mission control and co-pilot to make sure they can explore as much of their new world as possible.



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