Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Multiplication Magic

I've never been much of a math guru. Oh, I made it just fine (all As, in fact) through each of my required math courses in high school, but chose not to take any additional ones, knowing the misery I'd be inflicting upon myself. And, the day I made a C in College Algebra, I did the happy dance, knowing I'd never have another math class as long as I lived.

In spite of all that, I tutored a couple of Jensy's third grade boys in math this morning, and we had a great time! They've been working on the multiplication tables and much to their surprise, 6 x 10 equals 60. They were just as amazed to learn that 8 x 10 equals 80, 2 x 10 equals 20, and 10 x 10 equals 100. Lance quickly recognized that all you had to do was add a zero at the end to get the correct answer. The next thing we new, we were multiplying 23 x 10 and 61 x 10, just to add the zero (*see answers below, if needed). The excitement in their faces revealed the joy of knowing they'd "got it." Simply adding the zero at the end was like magic, they knew with certainty they'd gotten the answer correct as long as they didn't change the number and added only one zero.

I wish everything in life was that clear and assured. Multiplying by 10 is easy; but what about 13 or 16? Those more challenging and difficult problems are where error can easily slip in. And if the kids get in a hurry, they'll likely make a mistake. Just as those kids worried about whether or not they had the correct answer on their math problems, I find myself concerned about things that are difficult or challenging and make hurried decisions to provide answers, often making big mistakes in the process. I wish I liked math more, because maybe I'd learn better from Jesus. Apparently, he had an affinity for math. Consider the following:

"After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, 'Take this and divide it among you.'" (Lk 22:17 )
"So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away [subtract] your joy." (Jn 16:22)
"Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?" (Mt 6:27)

So, maybe you, along with me, will ask Jesus along with the disciples: “Multiply our faith!” (Lk 17:5), and find that the problems we face are like the 10s tables to him. He simply takes what's there and adds what's needed to get the correct answers for our lives.

Ro 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

*230 and 610 for those like me who would much rather read than multiply anything!

1 comment:

Darin M Wood said...

An excellent teacher knows how to communicate her topic!