Every family has its own unique patterns or behaviors that can be associated with each member. Families develop routines that can be easily traced to Mom or Dad, Aunt Helen or Uncle Jim, often with pride. As a Christian family, we know and understand how to demonstrate love and compassion to each other. Or do we? While we confidently repeat 1 Corinthians 13 at church ("Love is patient and kind. . . . is not easily angered . . . .") sadly, we have family secrets at home that are destroying many of us. Our "secret", and for some it's a covert reality, is that knowing about love is not the same as being loving.
Here are some stats about our families' secrets: On average, nearly 20 people per minute are abused by an intimate partner in the U.S. 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been victims of some form of physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime. Women between the ages of 18 and 24 are most commonly abused by an intimate partner. 1 in 15 children is exposed to intimate partner violence each year, and 90% of these children are eyewitnesses to this violence.1
When I started to write this blog, I figured it would be easy. After all, I LOVE MATH. I had very good math teachers throughout my primary and secondary school education. But not everyone is so lucky.
I imagine many of you can identify with these comments from one of my students:
“As a creative writing major, math is something I would like to avoid at all costs. In elementary school and middle school, I thought math was super easy. But in high school, suddenly it felt like all the other kids caught up really fast, and I wasn't the one with the highest scores anymore. My parents kept saying I must take after my mother (who loved English and eventually became a doctor) instead of my math loving father.”
“I never asked my dad for help, even though he insisted he could help, because he got things too easily. He knew all about math, he just didn't know how to teach math. Through the years, I've learned that is probably the biggest obstacle that kids who dislike or struggle with math face -- the people who are helping them don't know how to help them. They can be intimidating. If you struggle with math and something doesn't click, the last thing that you want is for someone to make you feel dumb.”
So how can a student get pass the “math phobia” and not only do well, but learn how wonderful and useful math really is? I asked some of my students for their thoughts. They provided a lot of useful information, both from their own experiences as well as those of their “non-math-major” friends.
The Sabbath afternoon after Sandra Bland’s death, some friends and I were discussing what we should teach our boy children (none of whom is currently older than 7) about dealing with the police. We were all keenly aware of the many recent incidents where African American males have ended up dead after coming in contact with the cops. Should we have our children challenge the police if their rights are being violated, or should we encourage them to cooperate so that they get home safely? Did we want our kids home alive, or did we want them dead right?
My feeling on this has been that in every struggle for justice, there have been casualties. It wasn’t until Americans across the country saw images of fire hoses being trained on African Americans, and dogs being allowed to attack them, including this famous picture: