As in so many impoverished areas, Homer's town has basically one place where a person can work and make a living. For Homer, this place is the coal mine. In a sense, the men in the town feel a sense of destiny about going to the mines; there is no choice. Homer's father feels this destiny, and thinks that what Homer does with rockets is simply a waste of time. In a sense, it is not that he wants Homer to work in the mines as much as he feels that Homer should just accept the way things are rather than having empty dreams that will leave him greatly disappointed. That is Homer's father believes in the old adage,
Blessed is he who expects nothing,/For he shall not be disappointed.
But, inspired by his teacher who gives him hope, Homer tries for the Science scholarship that will launch him into college and the future for which he hopes.