Monday, August 4, 2014

Two Plus Two Equals Peace - Why Teach Math?

"For God is not a God of disorder but of peace."  (I Corinthians 14:33)

Language is the foundation for all learning; history is the lens through which we understand all learning.  But math is often the language through which we learn.

God makes it clear throughout His Word that He desires order, not chaos.  The most orderly school subject a child can study is mathematics.  God also makes it clear that truth and absolutes exist and are defined by Him, not us.  What better way to teach this to your child than to let him discover the hard fact that 2+2=4, regardless of his opinion!  Math is supremely dependable, which teaches us about God’s faithfulness and dependability.  To function well and bring glory to God in today’s culture, a basic knowledge of math is a requirement.

Of course, some people aren’t “wired” for math.  And other people just don’t like math, even though they may do well with it (that describes me).  If your child is like me, he might be saying, “Aw Mom, I’m not gonna NEED math when I grow up!  I’m gonna be an artist!”  Or a musician, or a writer, or an athlete, or whatever.  But if you’re like my parents, you can explain how a good understanding of mathematical principles will help him to bring greater glory to God, no matter what his vocation.

The Use of Math in Other Vocations
You can explain, for instance, that in the world of art, perspective, angles, depth and shading all require a basic knowledge of math.  A musician must know some math to understand timing, note values and rhythms. A professional writer gains logic and clarity of thought through the discipline of using math.  Any athletic sport requires at least some sort of measuring and/or time-keeping, if not more complex things like computing of averages.  Of course, any vocation that deals with computers, science, and money (like banking) will require math study.

The Use of Math in Daily Life
Help your children keep in mind that every person, regardless of his career, is required by God to be a good steward of his finances.  This requires keeping a balanced budget — more math!  Since computers and cash registers often break down, it is necessary to know some math so you can help the cashier at the store when the machine fails.  Math is necessary to paint a house (how much paint per square foot?), plant a garden (how many seed packets will fill your garden space?), cook and bake (how many tablespoons per cup?), gas your car (do you have enough money to fill the tank?), and perform many other daily tasks.

Practical Application
Perhaps if your child feels frustrated with math, some practical application would help him or her to understand its importance.  Tell Annie she can make new curtains for her bedroom, but first help her compute how many yards of fabric and trim are required to do so.  Let Sammy build a tree house in the back yard, but help him figure out square footage for boards and estimate the amount of nails and other materials he’ll need.  Let your children help you bake cookies and try doubling or halving the recipe — that takes some math!

Studying mathematics develops logical thinking skills, something that is terribly lacking in our culture today (maybe because true math is no longer taught in the government schools!).  Studying math reminds us that there are absolutes and we cannot ignore them without suffering consequences. Studying math helps us to keep our lives orderly and peaceful.  Studying math teaches us that we can depend on God, the Author of mathematics.

Frankly, when my day goes wrong, my project bombs or something bad unexpectedly happens, I find math to be comforting—because, doggone it, 2+2 will always equal 4!  I can count on it!

Written by Heather Sheen

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