Sunday, 29 April 2012

From the Kids

Today I have a round-up of things my students have been saying: that a cycle ridden by a unicorn?

Okay, I've wroten "intelligent" 5 times. Now what?

The assignment was to recognize true and false generalizations. We got to "some weeks have fewer than 7 days." It sparked this little conversation...
Student: When it's leap year there's a week with only 6 days.
Me: A week always has 7 days. We don't skip one for leap year or not leap year. If the 28th is Friday, than Saturday is either the 29th or March first.
Student: But doesn't leap year mean that you skip a day?
Me: Leap year means that there's another day in February but the week stays the same.
Student: Oh. I thought they called it leap year because you leap over a day.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

I Know, I Know!

I want to speak to myself like I speak to my students: Just put words on paper! Write something! Although it's more "words on the screen" and "type something" but you get the point. I really, really mean to write, but then life gets in the way and the screen stays blank. I have about one more week of insane craziness and then it drops down to normal craziness so maybe I'll find more time then.

In the's a story about how mean I am to my Sunday School class. Today they were very disruptive and not listening well and talking a lot. They are rarely like that for me, but my assistant was teaching (they were doing workbooks today; usually she takes them those Sundays). The thing is, she is too gentle with them and doesn't come down on them when the start to be disruptive, and they take "gentle" to mean "permission" and act up more. I find it very hard to teach and very disrespectful to the teacher and the other students and don't tolerate it.

At the end of the class I always take over to wrap things up. This time I stepped in a bit earlier and had them all sit up, put everything on the table, fold their hands properly on the table and listen. It worked fairly well for the last few minutes of the lesson. Then I let them have it. I pointed out that the lesson should have taken about 30 minutes and they took almost an hour because they weren't listening. They know proper Sunday School behaviour and I expect them to show it. Furthermore, if I ever witness such behaviour again, I will send them all out of Sunday School and cancel class for a week. They can sit in the adult class with their parents and take notes about that class. If their notes are good enough, I'll let them back into class the following week.

They were very, very quiet. Their eyes were very, very big.

I don't anticipate any problems next week.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Happy Stuff

Here's what's making me happy this week....

Thursday evenings I have dinner with friends before Bible study. I sometimes check out the week's menus on her fridge, and I've noticed that sometimes they have popcorn and milkshakes for supper but never when I'm there. This week she gave in to my requests and had popcorn and milkshakes (chocolate raspberry milkshakes).

Yesterday I went to visit other friends. They have 4 children. The oldest had fun showing me everything in his room (mostly leg0 related stuff). He also showed me his clock and told me that it's radioactive. It turns out that when he says "radioactive" he means that it has a radio and the time is set based on the radio. The middle two, both girls, sat on me on the couch as we talked and they (as well as their brother) showed me all the art work they had been doing. The 6 year old is very good. The smallest child (who is around 20 months) came over with his stuffed dog and sniffed me gently. I guess I smelled okay, because later he was climbing on me as well! It was a fun afternoon, and that evening a couple other ladies came over as well for our ladies' study (we're doing J.I. Packer's Knowing God).

My toaster oven is dying. First one of the elements went out on the bottom so my toast was only half toasted on the bottom; now the entire bottom of the oven is dead and my toast is toasting on the top only. Last night my friend gave me her old toaster (they recently updated to a 4-slice toaster) so this morning I had toast that was toasted on both sides! The toaster oven is still good for making a small batch of nachos.

Right now I'm watching Bugs Bunny while relaxing from doing homework. There's more homework to do, but it's not so bad. I've been reading A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 and it's very interesting. I have a pot of soup on the stove and I might make banana muffins later tonight.

Tomorrow is Easter. Instead of Sunday School, we're having breakfast at the church. Later tomorrow I'm going to have dinner with friends (I spend all major holidays with them; they're my Edmonton family). I'm bringing a salad and in exchange I get a full Easter dinner (and maybe leftovers). In Grandma's email listing what we should all bring, she asked that the men and boys be responsible for clean up this year since the women are generally responsible for cooking.

Life is good.

Reading over this, it seems that much of my happiness revolves around food!

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Thomas Cranmer

Once a month I teach my Sunday School class about the Reformation. We focus each month on one of the men who was involved, and they really enjoy these lessons. It's a combination of history and theology, and along the way they're learning to recognize and refute false doctrine. As an added bonus, they all know the difference between Martin Luther and Martin Luther King, Jr.

This week we were up to Thomas Cranmer. I chose him because he is important from a historical point of view and he allowed me to give them a bit of English history as well: moving from Henry VIII to Edward VI to Bloody Mary, so they understand what was happening that affected the Reformation and the movement of Protestantism. This will come in next month as well. They might have been a bit confused about Henry's wives...but so is everyone!

Cranmer, though, is complicated. All the other reformers were more straight forward, even when we disagreed with some of what they taught. They generally had some sort of conversion experience, started preaching and writing against the Roman Catholic Church, and held tight to their convictions even when facing death (and some of them were put to death for their beliefs).

Cranmer....Well, he helped Henry VIII get his divorce from Catherine of Aragon and he broke his promise to the king when he tried to get Lady Jane Grey on the throne instead of Mary (Cranmer having promised to uphold Henry's daughters' rights to the throne...but Mary was a rabid Catholic and Jane was a Protestant). He had reasons for what he did, but it still doesn't make things like divorce and breaking promises right.

On the other hand, he was very influential in getting Protestantism into England. He convinced the king to allow English Bibles into the churches, he had prayers translated from Latin to English, and he put the king above the pope (and eventually the pope was not part of the Church of England).

Like I said: Cranmer was complicated. It gets worse, though. When Mary took the throne she had Cranmer arrested, partly for treason (Lady Jane Grey), partly because he was Protestant (the deal under Mary was Catholic or death) and partly because she hated him (Catherine of Aragon was her mother). The Roman Catholic authorities did whatever they could to get him to recant on the basis that he was a very important man in Protestantism and his recantation would hurt the entire movement.

Much to the delight of his enemies (and the surprise and dismay of my class) Cranmer recanted; in fact, he signed several recantations. Fear won.

And then Mary was determined to have him put to death anyway. The church authorities decided to make him read his recantation in front of everyone before his execution. They brought him to St. Mary's Cathedral and introduced him with a sermon denouncing his beliefs as heretical. Then Cranmer stood up...and recanted his recantation. He repented, he insisted that everything he has signed was a lie, he said that his right hand would burn first, and he said that the pope was the enemy of Christ. Then they led him out (very quickly) to be burned. He held his right hand out to the fire to burn first and so he died.

Cranmer is not a straight-up, easy to understand hero. He was about as messed up as the rest of us, he let himself be swayed by fear more than once, and he will forever be known for his biggest failure. Still, I find comfort in learning about Cranmer, because he reminds me of myself more than the other reformers. And in the end...God won.