Thursday, September 7, 2017

All Things Bear Record of Me: The Basement

I substituted as the teacher in the Gospel Doctrine Sunday school class a few weeks ago.
It was in our new ward and I was a bit nervous. It's been several years now since I've been blessed to teach in one of the Lord's classes. And one thing became immediately apparent.
Things have changed.

This time I rolled into the room on my trusty electric cart and one of my lovely daughters had to write the lesson essentials on the board in her very neat, teacher-writing style.
Then she turned the chalk sideways and surrounded everything she had written in MY usual chalky-cloud border.
I didn't even have to ask for the clouds. She just drew them.
It was very touching.

I taught the lesson.
Afterwards, my other lovely teacher daughter volunteered gently that I had done everything wrong.
She pointed out that this class is designed to include discussion. The instructor serves as the moderator who skillfully leads comments to touch on all doctrinal points outlined in the lesson.
Goofy stories about rocks were not discussion.

I agreed that class involvement is indeed a much better way to foster learning. I also have a feeling that both of my lovely teacher daughters are far more skilled than I in the logistics of this sometimes unwieldy teaching technique.

This brought to mind how wonderful it is to see your own children grow up to become mighty instruments in the hands of the Lord. Even when their skills far surpass your own in every way. Maybe especially when they do.

I would like to point out though that a major influence for one of those skilled daughters was the exceptional fifth grade teacher she was blessed to have in elementary school. We all know how important a favorite teacher can be. It was this one's influence that started her on the path of excellence that lasted a lifetime.
I was happy to have been that teacher and gratified to see the results.

Also, even though telling the goofy rock story was wrong, a person from the class did kindly ask for a "copy" of one of the other goofy stories I told.
Unfortunately I don't have copies of my stories. I keep them in unkempt, disorganized files in my head. And now I've noticed in alarm that pages are getting lost on a daily basis.

This particular story I heard decades ago. I've no idea where. It's not mine, of that I'm sure. But as soon as I heard it I began sharing it with my students. I've been telling it for years with unspoken gratitude to the author.

I'll attempt to remember it now for the nice lady who asked.

The Basement
Michael, a renowned professor of mathematics, lived with his family in a lovely home very near the university where he taught. His closest friend James, was a physicist who also taught at the university and lived with his family just two doors down the block. These two learned men had been associates for decades and their wives and children had also become close friends.

Yet, while the two men had a great deal in common, one major difference between them had caused much discussion over the years. The renowned professor of mathematics was a Christian and his friend was an atheist.
Many talks well into the night had not convinced either one of the other's viewpoint. But they were still friends in any case and over the years had become almost like brothers.

Well, one evening the two families were to have a barbeque at Mike the mathematician's home. The guests arrived. Children greeted each other noisily and ran out back to the festivities. Wives said hello and were off to the kitchen. Mike greeted his friend and headed out to the grill where he was creating his renowned hamburger masterpieces.
As he hurried out back to prevent burning he hollered over his shoulder, "Hey Jim, will you go down to the basement pantry and bring up a bottle of my famous barbeque sauce? I'm running low out here."
"Sure, but don't ruin dinner until I get there," was James's reply, as he opened the downstairs door.

As James turned on the light and descended the stairs he was stopped in his tracks by an amazing sight.
There on a large table, almost filling the entire room, was the most intricate, astounding model of the solar system he'd ever seen!
There were no words to describe it's marvels and beauty.
All of the planets appeared in correct relative size and color. The detail was unbelieveable. Jupiter's stormy eye swirled! Saturn's individual rings seemed suspended and glowing. Every planet had the correct number of moons, all revolving in precise mathematical orbits. He could see craters on the earth's moons in their proper place and size. There was even a ring of asteroids that whirled between the inner and outer planets!
All this revolved around a center light representing the sun which was incredibly bright and seemed suspended from nowhere!

Jim stood, mouth agape in astonishment until he heard Mike hollering for
sauce from above.
He bounded up the stairs, without the sauce, to pummel his friend with questions.
He started even before he reached his friend and the grill.
"Mike, where in the world did you get such an astounding model!!! I've never in my entire life seen anything so incredible!! It should be in the Smithsonian after a world tour!!! Does the university president know about this? Come on, tell me everything!!!

He waited as he looked at his friend who was still turning hamburgers and hot dogs.

"Oh, you mean in the basement?" Mike asked casually.
"Well, it was the strangest thing. Mary and I had just gone to bed last night when suddenly we heard this terrific explosion coming from the basement. We both rushed down in a panic to see if we needed to evacuate the kids. When we got to the bottom of the stairs, there it was! We stood there watching it for the longest time before we could tear ourselves away and get back to bed. Beautiful isn't it?"

Jim looked at his friend as if he had lost his mind.
"Oh, come on, Mike! Do you think I'm an idiot! Nothing that intricate, detailed, and mathematically precise could come out of an explosion! Someone of astouding intelligence had to think this up and make it!!!

Mike locked gazes with his good friend and said, "Jim, that's what I've been telling you for years."

Lovely youngest daughter read this post and pointed out that I was in error once again.
I wasn't her favorite teacher. I was mean to her. Plus I didn't teach properly.
Mr. Honsigner, Mr. Tenney and Mr Cheney were never mean to her. And they knew cool stuff.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

No comments: