The Land of Boys

Learning to live in a house full of testosterone

Archive for the month “August, 2011”

Why Am I Such a Chicken????

One day last week the boys and I were sitting in the hospital waiting room while Mark was having a test done. ( For anyone who knows us, he is fine, everything is okay) The lady at the registration counter asked if we were Mark’s family. I told her yes. She told us that his test would take a while. We already knew that so we had brought books to read. She went on to remark about how well behaved the boys were and how most kids that have to come in are not very nice. (no other kids were around at this point)  Of course, my heart was beaming. Wouldn’t any mother’s?

Fast forward about an hour. Another lady who works at the hospital came in and started talking VERY loudly to a friend who had come in for something. Then a lady came in with four or five kids. All small kids. From a baby that she was carrying up to a five or six year old. I noticed them as they walked by, then not again. All of a sudden, the lady who worked at the hospital (the one who came in talking to her friend) starts yelling at the kids. She said they were NOT to climb on the chairs in the waiting room and they needed to behave if they were going to be there. She then goes back to talking to her friend, very loudly and obnoxiously again. To be fair, I was looking at my book, not the kids. I don’t know what they were doing. All I  do know is that they were not making noise. Obnoxious lady is telling her friend, “Look at that little boy. He is just daring me to say something else.”

I had still not heard a sound from them, other than the baby cooing. So I looked up from my book. The little boy (maybe 18 months or two years old) is sitting there, just smiling at the mean lady.  I watched for a few minutes and the kids were really good. They did fidget a bit, but they are all little kids. They seemed to be sweet children. I think the lady just had a problem with their race. (they were the only non-white family in the waiting room) By this point, other children had been in/ were in the waiting room. Some good, some not so good. So why did she have to embarrass these kids? Why did she continue to talk so loud to her equally loud and obnoxious friend who had a phone that kept ringing with a loud, obnoxious ring tone. She said she did not know how to silence her phone. I really wanted to say something. I wanted to tell her that they were being much more annoying to the other people in the waiting room than that group of children. I wanted to tell her to get her  butt back to her desk so she would not keep people waiting that needed her services. I wanted to say that she was presenting herself in an ugly, racist light. But I didn’t. I am a chicken. Really, what is the worst thing she would have done to me? Body slammed me in a room full of people? Not likely. Talked mean to me? She had already done that to a bunch of kids. The lived through it. I’m pretty sure I could too.

That bit of chickening made me feel bad. It still makes me feel bad almost a week later. It reminds of something that most Christians I know (myself included) are guilty of. We chicken out of sharing the gospel with others. Why do we do that? Jesus commanded us to go and teach: Matthew 28:19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Why is it that we shy away from and chicken out of what we are commanded to do? What do we really think is going to happen if we share the gospel? Here in the US, really not much is going to happen. Sure, someone might make fun of you. You might get a reputation as being a religious nut. So, what is so bad about that? Wouldn’t we rather  please God than man? That is the way it should be anyway.  We should want to do the things that please God. We should be telling others about God’s grace and mercy.  I pray that we, the scaredy-cat Christians have the boldness we need to bring God’s message into a dying world.

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Without Math We Are Cave Men Eating Mud

That is a statement made by a math teacher on the TV show Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide. It is also something that I have to remind my kids of, frequently. Nathaniel really enjoys doing Science. He could read about Albert Einstein and Isaac Newton all day. Benjamin loves to read literature. He reads his own books and sometimes reads Samuel’s. Occasionally I have caught him reading some of Nathaniel’s books. Samuel loves to read history. The gorier the better in his mind. But then math time comes along and they are all asking ,”Can’t I do _______ first?” They sometimes ask how they are going to need math if they are not going to be math teachers. I have started trying to point out ways to them  that math is necessary and useful. Perhaps these reasons for math can be helpful to others, as well.

Scientist. I am always telling Nathaniel that if he wants to be a scientist, he is going to have to learn math and  learn more than the average person. As he gets older he is beginning to see that to progress in his scientific studies (and actually understand what he is reading) he has to know his math. It is not enough to know a particular formula, you need to understand what the formula is saying and how to solve it.

Chef. Sometimes Benjamin says he wants to be a chef. That is great. How he thinks he can get away with being a chef and not knowing how to do math is beyond me. Converting recipes from the metric system is not easy if you do not know what the metric system is . Doubling or tripling a recipe is going to take much less time than mixing one batch right after another. If you do not understand basic math how do you know how much food to prepare in proportion to the number of people you are serving? (These are actually things that apply not only to pros, but home-cooks as well)

Cashier This is something we see on a pretty regular basis. Cashier punches a wrong button on the register and then goes berserk trying to figure out how much customer actually owes. Sometimes the mistake is made after the total is figured up and the customer is paying. Then the cashier panics not knowing how much change the customer is supposed to receive. Some businesses are very strict on their cashiers. A drawer that comes up not matching the total sales can result in probation or even job loss.

Deli clerk People who get meat from a deli often ask for a specific amount. As a matter of fact I asked for 6 ounces of Canadian Bacon once at the Publix Deli.  Their scale measures in hundredths of a pound. I learned this that day. The lady behind the counter looked at me strange when I asked. She sliced one very small piece and placed it on the scale. “Are you sure you only want 6 ounces? Look, this is .06 by itself.”  Six ounces is a little under half a pound so I just asked for a half-pound. (It is .375, in case you are wondering) So now I ask for easy amounts for them to slice.

Seamstress If you are planning to make your own clothes, you need to know how much fabric and accessories are needed. Along the same lines would be making quilts. Quilt making requires careful planning. You need to know how much of each type of fabric is needed for your quilt pattern. The size of the quilt also affects the required amount of fabric.

Order Receiver Say your job is to be sure that orders are received for your place of business. Say they are big orders. It would be easier and take less time to say “Eight rows of boxes each stacked  four high. 32,”  rather than counting out 32 individual boxes.

There are many other ways we could talk about using math in our everyday lives such as balancing our checkbooks, planning a budget, etc.. but for brevity’s sake I’ll think this will have to suffice. I think it is safe to say that math is all around us. We need it to live our lives as productive citizens.

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