Three Branches of Arithmetic
My grandchildren started school this week. Three in Middle School, two in High School, and one in Head Start. I was thinking about them and how they will experience hardships and challenges not only academically but socially. I pray for strength to withstand the bullies, the mean girls and cliques of all kinds in the classroom and outside of classroom. On the other hand, they will have a blast – making friends, new adventures, and learning new things.[restrict]
As a child, I was ambivalent about schools – I liked school and I hated school. As I grew older, I understood why. I had a learning disability and speech impediment. Kids can be cruel and students like me become the butt of everyone’s jokes and derision. In hindsight, I realized that my teachers misunderstood me. The problem with the misunderstood child is that she tends to blame herself. Thank God! Education system has evolved tremendously… teachers are more aware of many different learning disabilities and are equipped to meet those challenges. I know of an elementary school principal who presented a Special Award to The Most Improved Student… from a failure to a passing grade. The child had a standing ovation. It was profound, a tearjerker!
Students will learn more and than something else. Mock Turtle is talking with Alice in the Wonderland about his school made me realize that if we expect perfection, we lose our perspective in life.
`Ah! then yours wasn’t a really good school,’ said the Mock Turtle in a tone of great relief. `Now at OURS they had at the end of the bill, “French, music, AND WASHING–extra.”’
`You couldn’t have wanted it much,’ said Alice; `living at the bottom of the sea.’
`I couldn’t afford to learn it.’ said the Mock Turtle with a sigh. `I only took the regular course.’
`What was that?’ inquired Alice.
`Reeling and Writhing, of course, to begin with,’ the Mock Turtle replied; `and then the different branches of Arithmetic– Ambition, Distraction, Uglification, and Derision.’
`I never heard of “Uglification,”‘ Alice ventured to say. `What is it?’
The Gryphon lifted up both its paws in surprise. `What! Never heard of uglifying!’ it exclaimed. `You know what to beautify is, I suppose?’
`Yes,’ said Alice doubtfully: `it means–to–make–anything– prettier.’
`Well, then,’ the Gryphon went on, `if you don’t know what to uglify is, you ARE a simpleton.’
Alice did not feel encouraged to ask any more questions about it, so she turned to the Mock Turtle, and said `What else had you to learn?’
`Well, there was Mystery,’ the Mock Turtle replied, counting off the subjects on his flappers, `–Mystery, ancient and modern, with Seaography: then Drawling–the Drawling-master was an old conger-eel, that used to come once a week: He taught us Drawling, Stretching, and Fainting in Coils.’
We can’t protect our children from life. It is their adventure and they will find their way through failures and rise again… with their beliefs and values intact. They will overcome their fears, learn more and grow. They will know that life is messy and the three branches of arithmetic really do exist. It’s inevitable. I pray God will send your children and my grandchildren good friends. And I rest in the truth that Jesus loves them more than anyone can ever love. He loves you too! [/restrict]