“Infinity”: Simply Calculus
by Maria Kana Santos
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I often marvel at mathematical formulas and equations.
It confounds me when I watch my daughters decipher Saxon Math problems with ease. They make sense of algebraic equations as simple as baking banana bread. Baking calls for maths in converting proper proportions with the right ingredients. Thus, their success at both, algebra and cake-making, helps me re-evaluate my own knack in solving simple arithmetic and culinary skills. There’s always room for learning and improvement. And I’m set for increasing my knowledge as a home school teacher and mom.
My eyebrows furrow at Jotham’s fractions and reducing portions to smaller equivalents. His quick-to-learn and get-on-with-it study habits inspire my desire to further my studies in the world of numbers. Pursuing advanced calculus down the track though is quite a strange wish, and is unlikely to materialize.
Homeschooling has its share of ups and downs. One of them is teaching Algebra. As I share this with some homeschooling moms, they share the same uneasiness, “You are not alone in this.”
To be able to brave through the tackling of the most obscure equations, my imploring knees to the All-Wise Creator must first be in fervent operation. After all, with just a word, He put the whole universe in perfect place and order. Another mom echoed, “What a mighty God we serve!”
Re-learning the basics in math is invigorating and uplifting too.
Another usual home-schooling morning, Jotham needed my help. Fifty-five items of problem equations and fractions in his math workbook daunted me at first glance. A half-smile, a half-puckered lip met with my creased eyebrows. My whole face looked like a fraction of anxiety and courage. Finding the standard formula for algebraic equations was most elusive. I was hard at thinking. I was concerned for my son’s future endeavours with facing higher maths. I guess, the mother’s heart in me overruled. The clock ticked rapidly towards lunch break. But beyond doubt, we advanced at a steady speed. I wasn’t giving up. I must teach him. I must relearn.
Here were five simple approaches to how I valiantly defied my trepidation in math:
1. helped the best I could,
2. be cheerful,
3. took a deep breath: portrayed that I was in control –of myself.
4. consulted my valuable teacher’s manual;
5. make sure Dad was available for deliverance.
A writer-editor and friend who taught her daughters until they graduated from their homeschooling is now reaping the fruit of her labor. She noted to me, “Why, my eldest now teaches college maths.”
I pondered, “Hmmm, why not me?” My friend, an author and editor, a homeschooling mom, her labours are never in vain. On second thought, I might as well get back on board into writing... while I teach.” My heart leapt with joy.
My sons acquired the term, infinity. Elementary school math introduced this word attached to a mathematical formula, I think. I don’t remember defining it to them from one of their math text books. But I suspected that they might have read about it somewhere in our library of 1800’s-1900's antique books. But I cannot underestimate the probability that they might have learned infinity from a dusty Advance Calculus book neatly stacked in some crevice intended for that volume. Given the benefit of the doubt, they might have gotten it from Isaac-Newton’s use of calculus. Rumours tell me, Daddy contributed this endless word to their vocabulary.
If my old memory remained loyal, my grade five definition of infinity was, “Never ends.” At the time of writing this article, Thesaurus gained my gratefulness. My success with word search yielded dividends, at least to my simple satisfaction. Perpetuity. Time without end. Eternity. I think, never ends suited me just fine.
Just the other night at our sporadic Daddy-Mommy-time alone, courage beckoned me to admit my ignorance. I asked my husband what sort of term was infinity.
“Is it scientific? Is it spiritual? Or is it simply calculus?”
My husband, a man of few words, answered, “Simply calculus. Infinity characterizes God, as well. He’s no beginning and no end.”
“Whew!" To me, it was an exhilarating breakthrough to know this, "Thanks, Hon!” My guess was right.
Since the conception of its usage, infinity has acquired its valuable place in the many phases of our home life. It hasn’t worn out its use and function to whom and for what it was intended.
For instance, each time food was served on our ten-seater, messmate dining table; my sons often rate my cooking: “Infinity out of infinity, Mom!” Even the little ones, Gilead 3, and Uzzielle, 5, copy, "Fin fin, Mom." What many pleasant meal times they'd been. My English inclinations to correct, “Use proper adjectives, dear” just simply amounted to infinite gratitude of, “Oh thank you, children, I’m very glad you like my yummy, scrummy cooking!”
Isaac-John, 8, and I exchanged hand signals. Three squeezes meant, “I love you”. But his boyish little hand squeezes,as hard as he could, hard squeezes that seemed more than three. And he said, “I love you Mommy, infinity out of infinity.”
Well, if stones of calculus were still of use today, its mathematical functions could never logically reason away love. Methodically, love cannot be confined. Symbolically, love, and all of the rates, volumes and gradients of human wisdom combined cannot explain the love overflowing from a mother to her child, and a child to his mother.
There is one encompassing and better love: It is the high cost of the free gift of God's mercy. It is the perfect kindness that came down from glorious Heaven to be with humanity. God has begun it, and perfected it at the cross by His only Begotten Son Jesus Christ.
It’s a high call to all to come, repent of sin, and surrender to the never ending, infinity out of infinity merciful love of God.
The Scriptures says, “Nor shall height, nor depth, nor any other creature, be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Math? Who? Me, teach Math? Piece a’ cake?
Yeah, come to think of it, it should be, with more work plus time put out while at it.
If home-teaching drew me closer to God, then, it was good. I see it now, to serve the Lord with fear, rejoicing with trembling because of what He did for for me on the cross- He truly loves me. He truly loves my children.
Teaching then at home is my simple, reasonable service to our merciful, Eternal God.
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I like your light-heartedness in dealing with areas in your life that are not your forte, but liked even more, how you incorporated "infinity" into God! BTW...math and me...not a good mix in any way, shape or form, so I just simply enrolled my daughter in an on-line Algebra Class, while homeschooling her. :)
I enjoyed this. I really liked the way you tied it all together, from calculus to love of mother and child, to love of God. Well done.
Fun read(even with a title that scared me a bit hehe).Enjoyed this, and a great message.