Teaching 5th grade math for the last 6 weeks has opened my eyes to a few things – one of which is the absolute need for a solid base or firm foundation. I began teaching one week after the previous teacher quit. In the week prior to quitting he’d given a test, primarily over algebraic expressions, which everyone had failed. I decided before moving ahead we’d repeat the material. We spent two full weeks working on algebraic expressions and order of operations without much progress. As I analyzed the students’ mistakes I realized their errors centered around how to make equivalent fractions or how to add and subtract fractions (with or without common denominators) so we backed up further. We’ve spent the last 4 wks covering that material. It’s been painstakingly slow and I’ve realized the problem lies deeper. My 5th grade students are struggling with the basic multiplication tables – they’re making tally marks and counting on fingers. They don’t have a good base . . . . they have a weak (math) foundation.
As I reflect on foundations and think in spiritual terms I’m thankful. I had the blessing of growing up in a strong Christian home. My parents both taught and demonstrated the importance of a close, personal walk with Christ. Other adults in my life also nurtured my faith and taught me well.
I’ve also reflected on how I (along with Dan) are doing as we seek to lay and nurture a faith foundation for our kids. Of course their relationship with Christ is their own and we can’t force anything but we can lay that firm foundation and encourage them to build on it.
Strong, firm foundations are important. Knowing your multiplication tables makes math easier. But much more importantly, a firm foundation, based on Christ, makes all of life easier; not because it eliminates problems (sometimes it brings more) but rather because that relationship with Him gives hope, strength, promise and peace.
Whether we’ve grown up with a firm foundation or whether we need to build that now – may we, my children, you (and my math students) build on Christ – our rock and a very firm foundation!!