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Life Lesson from Math

A Friday morning epiphany.
Mr. Nice Guy has taken over teaching math to the kids. R.E.L.I.E.F., pouring out of me. He's gifted in math and science. After analyzing various methods, he chose one based on how math is taught in Japan. QB seems to have an affinity for math, and we wanted a curriculum that really grounded the kids in understanding math concepts.
Mr. Nice Guy observed our school day a few weeks ago and had a puzzled look on his face as I taught the math lesson. I burst into tears, explaining how I only knew what was explained on the page - beyond that, I was blank. The same look on the kids' faces. As I taught math. Though I did well in school, taking all the advanced courses, I was a good memorizer when it came to math. Passing the classes was my objective - beyond that the concepts meant little to me. (I excel in Language Arts, Social Studies/History and the Arts. I stink at Math. I'm OK with that.)
This morning, as he was waxing eloquent in math class, passionately breaking down the lesson into bite-sized morsels and making sure our offspring could swallow them with understanding, Mr. Nice Guy said something that jolted me. I almost spilled my coffee.
"It's not about the answer. It's about the process."
I've always been "the right answer" type of girl. Point A to Point B. Black & white. There's always a right or wrong. That's what matters. Or so I thought.
From one of favorite sermons: "Life is about the journey, not the destination. Don't forget the thrill of the climb." But too often I do forget or think the climb is not thrilling at all. "Enough already - let's just get there, " I grumble. But our lives ARE about the journey. Big things and little things, what matters is the PROCESS. So often we think, "When this happens, when I achieve this, etc., then I will be happy."
Gobs of money, time and attention for the wedding day, which is an important day, but what about preparing for the marriage? What about the process of the relationship which reveals who you both really are and is the hardest challenge and biggest blessing in the whole world? My sweetest memories of my wedding have so little to do with the ceremony or reception. Those were great moments, but the most meaningful ones include...
... My sister throwing me a wonderful bridal shower in response to one that left me in tears (one that made me feel like I was being punished for getting married ahead of some of my friends), and including Mr. Nice Guy in it. He helped me unwrap the gifts and pass them around - he was so cute and oohed & awed like a real trooper!
... Reading the cards we received together and talking about the history of our relationships with the senders. I still have all of our cards and enjoy reading them over and over.
... Mr. Nice Guy rolling up his sleeves and helping to clean up after our reception along with his family because our ushers and helpers bailed. The Victorian mansion we rented out had strict rules, and my prince wouldn't let me do anything but wait in my going away outfit as they took care of everything. That revealed the true character of the man I married and helps me through the bumpy times when we aren't so happy with one another :-)
Graduations, births, milestones in our lives are all worthy of celebrating to be sure. But the real value of all of those is the process. Drinking in knowledge, time spent studying, marveling at the life growing within, preparations, prayers, lots and lots of growth both figuratively and literally.
I sensed God telling me that even the search for a new job has less to do with the outcome and more to do with us in the process. How will we respond and live during the season of the unknown? How will we handle the disappointments and changes? What kind of children will we be when things are more challenging financially, what kind of life partners will we be, what kind of parents will we be??? The answers are discovered in the months of waiting. And if the answers aren't satisfactory, there is always room for change! We can choose to live a different response. The final outcome we celebrate (hurray!) is made up of the choices we make throughout the process. Adjustments to the steering wheel while we drive on this road of life, through valleys and across mountaintops, are necessary and important!


Anonymous said...

I am very weak in Math. It is my fear as my kids get older in homeschooling. How great that is that your husband is helpful.

Hall Family in MD said...

Thanks for this reminder, Miki!