Jun 042013 6 Responses

6+1, the First Math Problem We should Teach Our Kids

It’s a simple math problem, 6+1, yet our inability to understand it is killing us.

Written in Creation is a basic rhythm of life—work 6, rest 1. Long before the Old Testament Law was written, this order was placed in God’s creation.

Ignore the 6 and we will wither away from a lack of exertion and an absence of meaning.

Ignore the 1 and we will burnout and implode from an exaggerated sense of self-importance.

Work 6, rest 1, and we will understand our God given responsibilities without forgetting that we are not God; we will exert energy and recover so we can grow stronger while also replenishing our resources.

We have forgotten this order so we cannot pass it on to our kids. We are unknowingly demanding a 7+0 lifestyle where we expect exertion from them every day without any chance of rest, enjoyment and being. Sure, much of that exertion is done under the name of fun. Yet wearing a uniform and being expected to produce is not God’s idea of rest.

At the same time, a day of rest is not laying on the couch and staring blankly at a t.v.

The Biblical idea of Sabbath is about joy. It’s about a day where we find more meaning in being rather than producing. It’s about a whole day set aside to seek beauty, love, joy, and fun without the pressures of winning, strategizing, or defeating. It’s about enjoying what God has created, who He is, and what He has already done for us.

Imagine if you took one day a week and refused to toil, refused to work, refused to do anything except that which connects you with God, His creation, and family and friends.

Imagine a day which began with corporate worship, included family and friends together having fun, and was centered around a meal and togetherness. This is the old picture of Sabbath. This is natural order which God has created. We have chosen a different rhythm at our own peril.

It’s sad what we have done to ourselves, but what is worse is we are passing this lifestyle on to our kids.

  • When does your child find joy in being over producing?
  • When does your child explore what God has created?
  • When does your child spend time with you when you aren’t teaching, coaching, or demanding?
  • When does your child see you laugh and play?

These are a few things we give up when we trade God’s rhythm of 6+1 for a 7+0 lifestyle.

It’s pretty simple math and it’s the first math problem our children should learn.

6+1= is God’s design.

6 Responses to 6+1, the First Math Problem We should Teach Our Kids
  1. Sue Grace Reply

    I feel that I must weigh in on this issue. As an educator, I have struggled with this through out my career. Each evening after dinner, I continue to work on writing lessons, studying for the next day’s work and/or doing professional reading. The weekend often is more of the same. Teaching is unlike many professions where you can call it quits at the end of a work day. I am nothing special as most of my colleagues are doing the same. I am only mentioning the above to share that I struggle with the 6 + 1 equation also. My real concern is what many good parents are expecting of their children. Afterschool activities have become a second job for many students. Kids are “over producing” with cheer, dance, music, and sports. You name it – kids are taking lessons to excel at it. My elementary school has an exceedlingly rigourous curriculum for students and they work hard the entire day. Thinking is hard work. Our homework consists of readiing independently at home for a number of specified minutes each week. That’s it! They determine when they read based on their personal schedudles. We have students that struggle to find time to read because of their over involvement. Don’t misunderstand me, I think it is wonderful to offer kids an opportunity to develop their interests but I have to wonder what message we are sending. Are you only worthwhile when you are constantly achieveing? And at what cost?

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      Sue, I wonder about doing away with all homework until Jr High. I’m yet to see a study that says homework is useful before high school.

      • Sue Grace Reply

        You are preaching to the choir when you bring up the question of the usefulness of homework with young children. If assigned, it should be purposeful practice that students can do independently for an appropriate amount of time. However, homework can be tricky with parents. Because of their own school experiences, many parents have the expectation that homework is an essential part of their child’s education. The labeling of reading as homework is unfortunate but it seems to give it more credence to parents and students. Dr. Richard Allington , researcher and Professor of Education at the Univeristy of Tennessee, recommends children spending at least 90 minutes per day reading books they can read and want to read. In order to support students in acheiving that goal, we provide a block of uninterupted time with eyes on print – not doing worksheets but actual reading. However, the school can’t do it all. We need help from parents to ensure that their children are reading at home. Reading to our children is one of the most wonderful gifts we can give them – regardless of the age. I try to wear my love of reading on my sleeve so that my students know that reading is an integral part of my life. Personally, I don’t feel that asking children to read 100 – 200 minutes ( 3rd – 5th grade) PER WEEK is inappropriate. I would go so far as to say, I feel it is necessary if we want our children to eventually compete in the workplace.

  2. Bonni Funk Reply

    I love it! Yes, the Sabbath is a GIFT!

  3. […] Why? (See: 6+1, The First Math Problem We Should Teach Our Kids) […]... kevinathompson.com/work-rest
  4. […] 1. Spiritual things have no priority. Ask a mom or dad and they will say they want their kids to kno... kevinathompson.com/who-controls-calendar

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Please enter your name, email and a comment.