We send our kids to school to learn facts, right? I mean, I can teach my child that two plus two equals four, and a public school teacher can teach my child that two plus two equals four. Whether it comes from the parent or a teacher the answer is the same–four. If we leave it at that, then the most important question remains unanswered: “Why?”
Your kids have probably asked the obligatory, emotionally charged question, “Mommy/Daddy, why do I have to learn math?” There are all kinds of logical answers teeming with conventional wisdom. We learn math so we can balance a checkbook, pay rent, figure out how much material we need for our project, decide how much gas to put in the tank; so we can get a good job, earn money, and retire. But if that’s it, if that is the only reason to learn math, then we propel our children into desire for worldly things.
The “why” we seek to answer is deeper than that. Not only do we need to answer why we need to learn math, but we also seek to answer why two plus two equals four – why it always has, does, and always will equal four. This “why” can only be answered by you because the school system ignores the reality of the answer.
We learn math to learn about our glorious creator. That is a truth that hit me like a ton of bricks at this past summer’s TCHEN conference, (Tri County Homeschool Convention) in Santa Rosa. I was there to introduce Mr. Israel Wayne, the keynote speaker. After the introduction I stayed to listen to him speak regarding his book Homeschooling from a Biblical World View. Mr. Wayne went on to describe that mathematics – like so many other subjects – were not invented by man, but discovered. Math existed already and is therefore a product of God. What does math tell us about God? That God is a God of order, of consistency, and of balance. The further we go in the study of mathematics, the more we see how amazing God is; His attention to detail and his utter faithfulness.
Math also teaches us that there is more than one way to get the right answer. Fractions, decimals, and percents are all different ways to express the same thing –parts of a whole. Jesus never healed someone the same way twice, but many were healed. God is both consistent, and diverse. There is one God, one faith, one baptism; we are indwelt by one Spirit and serve one purpose, but there are many parts to the body of Christ, and each of us is given unique gifts to accomplish that one purpose. We each come to the cross of Christ through many avenues, but it is only through the cross of Christ that we can be saved.
There are many practical reasons to learn math, but none so important as learning the character of God, and to trust in His faithfulness. Every math lesson is an exploration of the patterns and principles of mathematics…and the nature of the God who created them. Two plus two equals four, it always has and always will. You can, quite literally, bank on it. Even when there is an unknown variable, that consistency and faithfulness will allow you to fill in the blanks and arrive at the same answer.
Where else in your life do you need to experience the faithfulness and consistency of God? Perhaps a good math lesson will be the open door you need to draw near to God? Let your kids chew on that one.