Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Why am I doing this?

A question my wife has asked me...I'm not sure of the answer exactly. Why blog?

Is it just a diary that others can read? I never really had a diary. Somehow a log of events in my life that no one would read except me seemed like wasted effort. I'm a person who loathes a treadmill-type exercise because it seems so useless and turned-in on the self. I realize it may be necessary at times, but I always wanted my "exercise" to accomplish something beyond just keeping me fit. I wanted to create beautiful art with my exercise, and so I did ballet for a while, until it became too expensive and I got too old and fat. But even if I did it on my own without taking a class, I felt part of a community somehow, participating in an ancient discipline, something larger than myself. At the very least, I wanted my exercise to accomplish some task, like cleaning the yard or chopping wood.

So also I could never justify the time to write down my thoughts just to keep them locked away in a drawer. At least here someone has the possibility of reading my random thoughts. And I couldn't believe the charge I got out of people responding to my ramblings.

My 16-year-old son asked me something the other day and to save time I told him to read my blog on the subject. He declined, saying only 3 or 4 people read my blog and he didn't want to be the fifth. Ha Ha.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Help! Rice Krispies Everywhere!

My wife just e-mailed me from home: the 4-year-old and 6-year-old (both boys) have sprinkled Rice Krispies around the house. We have one of those floorplans where the kids can run around and around in a circle, track-style. Except they lined the track with cereal.

So my long-suffering wife (Geometrica?) assigned them the task of cleaning it up, hoping to teach them responsibility and the virtues of diligence and cleanliness.

They took the vacuum cleaner in the bathroom and sucked up the toilet paper. Now the vacuum is clogged.

They got sent to their room with no cookies, and the Rice Krispies are still there! Please pray for patience for Mrs. Geometricus and for true contrition for the two little Trapezoids.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

She learned her lessons well

Tonight I stayed late at school and made calls for the annual fund. The school provided pizza and $25 per hour to call parents of students at the school and ask for money for our wonderful Catholic school which teaches the faith in all its fulness. It's amazing how generous people can be toward a school where they pay upwards of ten thousand dollars a year tuition already.

But one call (not made by me) brought up generosity of another kind. One of the other teachers who had signed up to make calls tonight rang a parent who was pregnant again, the 2nd time in two years. I think this would be their fourth child. Anyway, the teacher who made the call told me this parent kept her on the phone for 25 minutes talking everything in her life. She mentioned that she felt she didn't have the energy to keep having all these babies (at around 40) and that she may have to have her "tubes tied." Her 5th-grade daughter, who has learned the faith well for several years at our school, overheard this and asked what "tubes tied" meant. When her mother told her, the youngster exclaimed, "But Mommy, you can't stop God's plan!"

There was no mistaking the child meant by the remark: generosity in the service of life, the Church lovingly teaches, forbids a woman to mutilate her body, even if more children seem to be a hardship. This family is one of our faith-filled non-Catholic families who apparently doesn't mind their children being taught real Catholic doctrine. The child learned her Catholic lessons well, and in a truly age-appropriate way from our wonderfully wise and faithful lower school teachers who are living it themselves, for the most part, however imperfectly.

This is why I trust my own children to this school. Praise God: may their be many more Catholic schools like it.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Argument and discourse

The Recovering Dissident Catholic has an intense post on discourse. It was originally inspired by the folks at My Word and Welcome to it. She has a funny classification of the stupid ways people attempt to debate about ideas these days.

While teaching lessons on indirect (Reductio ad absurdum) proof in Geometry class this week, I often think of how difficult it can be to teach the average learner about good argumentation. After hearing some of the feeble attempts of high school sophomores at putting together their first attempts at academic-type proof, I get the sense that logic does not play a huge role in their lives.

OK, my sophomore son just peeked over my shoulder and reminded me that comment wasn't exactly fair. People tend to argue most passionately about things they really care about, so my little lessons about proving angles congruent or lines parallel might not be the most riveting topics teenagers may care about. On the other hand, my son claims that logic actually does play a huge role in his life. And he even claims that his logic is much better after he took my Geometry class last year. Comments like this give me hope.

But when people are more concerned with entertainment, ratings, advertising revenue, or political votes than they are about truth, should we be so suprised when civil discourse, not to mention good logic, goes out the window?