STEM Tuesday New Year’s Eve 2019 Special Edition!

Times Gone By

Should old acquaintance be forgot,

and never brought to mind?

Should old acquaintance be forgot,

and old lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my dear,

for auld lang syne,

we’ll take a cup of kindness yet,

for auld lang syne.

For most of my 50+ years, I thought the traditional New Year’s Eve song Auld Lang Syne consisted of shout-singing the line “Should old acquaintance be forgot” and then followed by a bunch of humming. That was the way it was sung or appeared to be sung, in the low-brow circles I inhabited. This year, things have changed. 

It’s a new decade. A new time. 

Time to shed old habits and forge new hope.

We’ve just celebrated the Winter Solstice. For us northern hemispherians, it signals a beginning. The length of a day has bottomed out and the length of a night has peaked. We, as children of the sun, are tied to our ancient circadian rhythms. We experience biochemical and hormonal changes that affect mood, metabolism, and many other aspects of our lives over the course of a natural year. Our magnificent human bodies know more than any calendar made by man. We feel it.

Here we sit. January 30, 2019. Nine days into the run toward the vernal equinox and springtime. A time to look back at the past with an analytical eye but look forward with the eye of optimism. It’s time to begin the next orbit around the sun.


Optimism? With so much negativity swirling around us every single day?

Yes, optimism. 

As it’s been said, it is darkest before the dawn. Just as our bodies tell us the days are getting longer and we feel a bit brighter day by day, there’s always hope built into the future. There’s a certain optimism built into our nature, both inside of us and woven into the universe we tread.

There’s always hope in a new year. 

That’s why we make our traditional New Year resolutions. New year, new you. A fresh start created by a time construct of our own creation. A thing created so we can better define and understand our world. The alpha and the omega, an ending and a beginning, at the point of the genesis of another trip around the sun. 

New year, new you. Remember the past and look ahead to what tomorrow may bring. We can do this STEAM people!

The main reason for my optimism is perhaps something you’ll scoff at or, perhaps, something you can agree with 100%. 

The power of Youth.

Yes, the young people of our planet. 

I know, I know. One may wonder if I’ve finally flipped over the edge by laying the burden of the future optimistically on the shoulders of our young people. Young people who might not even notice something is on their shoulders because they are frozen to their phone screens. I’ll gladly and confidently put my hope into their hands even though they may not know what year the 31st president was born or recite the Krebs Cycle three days after the biology exam or know the difference between the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights.


Because young people are our future. Because the young people of today know how to navigate the digital age. They know how to connect. They know how to mine the information they need to solve the problems they face. They know the mountains that lie before us and are better equipped to find a way to climb them. They know not to forget the past nor ignore the present but to use both in building a better future.

How can I be so sure about this?

Because you, the fine readers and creators and teachers and librarians and especially parents, the people who are trusted with developing these young minds, are giving these young people the most important tool they’ll need to attack the problems of mankind, the power to think. You have given the next generation your cup of kindness so they’ll take the lessons past as they navigate solutions to our problems.

Look around. In the classrooms, playgrounds, libraries, churches, and homes are the young minds we will rely on to build a better world. I see hope. I see optimism. I see bright minds. I sense the optimism budding.  

Agree with me or not, I ask only one thing of you. Keep exposing our young minds to STEAM through books, media, maker space environments, and challenges. Let’s all vow as we enter this new decade of hope, the 2020s, to do whatever we can to build the brain muscle of the next generation. We need them. 

Thank you STEM Tuesday readers!

2019 has been a great year at STEM Tuesday. We’ve grown and matured as a blog team and, although I may be a tad biased, are really hitting our stride with this endeavor of middle-grade STEAM.  From the entire team of STEM Tuesday contributors,

  • We are thankful for your support.
  • We are thankful for all of the people who read & share the STEM Tuesday blog posts.
  • We are thankful for the teachers, librarians, authors, and parents who bring STEAM into the lives of our young people. You are indeed the warriors in the fight for a better world.
  • We are thankful for STEM/STEAM books. 
  • We are thankful for STEM/STEAM book creators. The entire juvenile STEM nonfiction community is awesome and kind, and so very very talented.
  • We are thankful for the From the Mixed-Up Files…of Middle-Grade Authors blog group and their administrators for allowing STEM Tuesday to exist and have a beautiful home.
  • We are especially thankful for each other. At the heart of the STEM-lit community are wonderful people.

Remember the past, enjoy the present, and prepare for the future. It’s going to be an awesome decade in STEAM. I can feel it in my circadian bones.  

For auld lang syne, my dear,

for auld lang syne,

we’ll take a cup of kindness yet,

for auld lang syne.

Have a cup of kindness and spread it around.

Happy New Year!

Anya Adora [CC BY 4.0 (]

Mike Hays has worked hard from a young age to be a well-rounded individual. A well-rounded, equal opportunity sports enthusiasts, that is. If they keep a score, he’ll either watch it, play it, or coach it. A molecular microbiologist by day, middle-grade author, sports coach, and general good citizen by night, he blogs about sports/training related topics at and writer stuff at www.mikehaysbooks.comTwo of his science essays, The Science of Jurassic Park and Zombie Microbiology 101,  are included in the Putting the Science in Fiction collection from Writer’s Digest Books. He can be found roaming around the Twitter-sphere under the guise of @coachhays64.


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