Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Seeking the right answer

Warning- I was wrong about the furminator. I found a small abrasion on poor Honeybun, which I strongly suspect is from the furminator. And we decided Lucky has two somewhat bald spots, again courtesy of the furminator. My grooming friend tells me the furminator is a blade on a handle, and most people (yours truly included) don't understand that and should be very careful using it. Guilty. Thus I retract my endorsement and will continue to vacuum 40 times a day to try to stay ahead of the dog hair collection. I will continue to use the low tech dog brush, which costs $5.95, but which poses no danger to our dogs.

With the furminator debacle laid to to rest, I went on a walk to Shadowlake, where the beautiful swans used to glide. It is not the same without the swans, but it is still a peaceful place to walk with the dogs. I was trying to work out the solution to the SAT question of the day. Once a day, I get a question sent to my email from the SAT organization, preparing me for college entrance exams. I do not intend to return to college, but I thought it would be good practice for both me and Asherel, and how long could one question a day take? The first two days, I got the questions correct in 10 seconds. So did Asherel. This was day three, and a math problem. A quadratic equation. Need I say more?

So I wandered along the lake shore thinking about the hint that was given with the question. It reminded me (tactfully suggesting that this was something I once knew in the first place) of the vertex quadratic formula. This hint did not help me at all, because in the formula were variables that I had no idea what they were, specifically h and k. I looked out at the peaceful waters of Shadowlake, and wished the swans were still there, then headed home to cheat.

  I did a google search on h. That gave me a whole series of new formulas and told me that h and k were the vertices of the parabola, graphed by the equation. This helped a little, believe it or not. I plugged in the one vertex I knew, and after about twenty steps, arrived at the correct answer. Now it was time to explain the answer to Asherel, who had also unsuccessfully attempted the question.

I brought her my two pages filled with computations. At the 4th or 5th step, I could not remember why I had done what I had done.
"Do you want me to go do Spanish while you figure this out?" she asked.
"No, I want you to try to figure it out with me."
Finally, about twenty minutes later, we plowed our way through  to the correct answer. It is perhaps a good thing that I am not intending to enter college again. And Asherel has four years of SAT question of the day to help prepare her. I hope this is a wise approach. I hope I am not inflicting hidden wounds, like the furminator.

Sometimes there are no Biblical precedents to help in some of the dilemmas of life. One has to glean from general guiding principles. In the midst of all this angst of the day, I was faced with a philosophical question. If the world seems to be swimming one way, people you even like and respect, yet your own conscience will not let you float along with them, do you fight the current? It is so much easier to hop on the bandwagon. Maybe my conscience is misdirecting me. Am I becoming legalistic, patronizing, self righteous? But why won't my conscience let me off the hook and give in to those things which a majority opinion seems to coalesce around?  I admit that I am growing weary of trying to stand against a flood. Every parent knows what I am talking about at some point in their role as guide and protector of our children. I won't go into specifics but the furminator episode made me wonder. Do we sometimes think we are doing something good, something wonderful...but we are abrading a soul underneath? I just don't know.

I looked over my computations for the quadratic equation. Under test conditions, would I have been able to arrive at the correct response in a timely manner without the hints? No, not yet. But if I did this every day, trained myself bit by bit, perhaps in a few years I could. I suppose seeking God and His Way is a similar process. Day by day, grow more sensitive to His voice speaking to my conscience, and perhaps each time the answer will come a little more easily, a little more clearly. This daily digging to the depth of how the Spirit is guiding me has the exact opposite effect of the furminator- it is the kind of scraping that heals wounds, not inflicts them.

Job 27:6
I will maintain my innocence and never let go of it; my conscience will not reproach me as long as I live.
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1 comment:

  1. Vicky,

    You might have solved the SAT problem in your "Secret Guide to Computers and Tricky Living - Vol. 31", since author Russ Walter deals with Quadratic Equations on page 386 (top left).

    Similarly, religious concerns might lessen with Russ's Old Testament, New Testament and Qur'an (pages 477-486), done from all existing translations.