Monday, August 4, 2008

Math? Who Knew?

I went to school with a guy who my sister and I called Perfect Steve. He could write, act, ballroom dance, play two musical instruments, sing, do advanced mathematics and science. He was wise, kind, funny, spiritual, and didn't look like a troll. I would have fallen in love with him except he was several years younger than I was. He graduated from high school early and headed off to college where he majored in math of all things.

I was chatting with him during his sophomore year and asked him how he could stand it. Why in the world had he chosen Math when he could have studied anything? What is there to even learn after calculus?

My questions sent Perfect Steve into an enthusiastic description of the joys of mathematics, the orderliness, the questions, the answers, all truth turned into neat little proofs. He began describing the sheer exhilaration of being able to mathematically turn a sphere inside out.

At least that is what I was able to gather. He lost me pretty quickly. I stopped him and told him I would just have to believe him. I knew that it would take me years of studying math (of all things) before I could understand anything he said. Sorry. Love ya, Steve. Still hated math.

So last week I promised to return with a report about my experience at my homeschool training last week. What in the name of all long-windedness does Perfect Steve's sphere have to do with my LEMI (Leadership Education Mentoring Institute) training? The LEMI trainers have finally given me the vision that Steve was trying to share.

Math is cool!

I want to know how to turn a sphere inside-out mathematically! I want to know enough that I'm willing to work hard for the knowledge. Years, if necessary. I want to thrill my kids and students with the sheer exhilaration that is to be found in asking questions, finding and analyzing patterns, in math. Of all things.

Thanks for trying, Steve. Thanks, LEMI: I needed that.

For the fun of it, here's a picture of a sphere turning inside-out.

[For you TJed/LEMI=a cult folks—I'm running the final blood tests now, but preliminary testing shows that no mind-altering drugs were administered to create a delusional epiphany. Other than chocolate, of course.]


Papa D said...

I love math. My favorite quote:

Music is the harmonic language of the universe - the unifying mathematics of the soul.

Jami said...

Great quote Ray!