≡ Menu

Goal for 2014… Be a Ninja

I worked with the girls this afternoon on some goal setting. We all listed as many things as we could think of that we would like to do in 2014. Here is Mari’s list:

IMG 2151

I love that she tries to spell words even if she doesn’t know them (ninga). We’ll correct them later, but just getting down what she wants to do was important today.

Tomorrow I’ll share Emiko’s list.

{ 0 comments }

The Saturday Before Christmas

In the morning, future SAHMs practice for the next day’s Christmas program.

IMG 2126

Then go caroling in the evening.

IMG 2147

{ 0 comments }

What Do you get for a 7 yo Future SAHM?

A My First Lab Duo-Scope Microscope

IMG 2110

Mari is interested in becoming a scientist. Her Christmas wish list included this microscope, a science lab, a dentist kit, and a veterinarian kit. Once again, my aversion to any girlified product.

{ 0 comments }

What Do you get for a 12 yo Future SAHM?

An Arduino Uno Ultimate Starter Kit of course! 

IMG 2108

The breadboard doesn’t have a kitten picture on it and the wires aren’t pink or neon. It’s not girly or masculine; it’s electronics and that’s what she’s interested in learning about. During the summer, while she was learning Scratch, she said she wanted to build a robot as her next project. I researched kits and found a number based on Arduino. I explained that we should probably start with something more basic, similar to learning to write sentences before writing a whole book. She agreed and I found this kit. We’re going to have a great time learning and building the projects and hopefully we get as far as a full blown robot!

{ 0 comments }

STEM Gifts for Girls

Holiday gifts that encourage STEM education

The gender imbalance in STEM fields is extreme. According to a 2010 AAUW report, boys and girls take math and science courses in roughly equal numbers in elementary, middle, and high school, however far fewer women than men pursue these fields in college. According to the National Science Foundation, 29% of all male freshmen planned to major in a STEM field in 2006 compared to 15% of all female freshmen.

Honestly, I wouldn’t lay this all at the feet of a STEM monoculture. Software development, as a part of that landscape, just isn’t that appealing to a lot of people. The tools to build an app (web or mobile) are freely available. The barriers to learning are very low, and the barriers to success are no higher than for males.

One way is to interest them with toys that fit their frames of reference, while bringing in some element of technology for a soft landing. The Goldie Blox book and toy series is an example where a character is portrayed as a “princess turned engineer.” The toys teach spatial skills and engineering principles.

I looked at some of these toys and I’m not convinced that going the route of making colorful and cute toys with STEM elements is the way to go. Code is black and white, terse, and cold. Trying to dress up a subject may hold a girl’s interest slightly longer, but you can only hide it so long before the truth comes out. Better to expose them to the real deal and let them honestly decide if they are interested in the subject.

Tomorrow I’ll post what we’re getting our future SAHMs.

{ 0 comments }

A Recent Favorite

This is one of my favorite drawings that Emiko has done recently. She really enjoys drawing and I think it’s an area to focus on when we help her discover a career. Seems like there would be a lot of SAHM friendly options.

Cats 1

{ 0 comments }

Early Christmas Present

Mari outgrew her bike so Erin’s parents and brother got her a new bike for Christmas. The size difference was frustrating her, but true to form she wanted to figure it out herself. The problem was that the new bike is too big to maneuver on the sidewalk, so I let her go in the street (with specific rules) and everything was fine after that.

IMG 2103

{ 0 comments }

What a 7yo Future SAHM Wants to Do When She Grows Up

I asked Emiko (11) to write down some things she wanted to do when she grows up. It was meant to exercise her creativity and to help her understand how some careers were a better fit for a SAHM. Mari (7) decided to join in and her list is below.

IMG 2092

{ 0 comments }

10 Months :(

Wow, it has been 10 months since I posted here. It’s not that I haven’t thought about posting, but when I do a mix of disappointment and fear comes over me and I just avoid it by finding something else to do.

I never wanted to write the “Why I Haven’t Been Blogging” or “I’m Changing Directions” post, but at some point they became the only two posts that made any sense. However, my sense of pride wouldn’t let me write them.

So I’ve decided to jump in with both feet and write the “Why I Haven’t Been because I’m Changing Directions” post.

I haven’t been blogging because I started this blog with a focus on theology and an emphasis on the doctrine of vocation and how that doctrine played out in my life. That got me “notoriety” in some small circles and I thought that I had to keep posting in that vein and have really boxed myself in. I’ve hesitated posting here on normal life because I didn’t think it had enough theological import. That just cut off too much of my life to make blogging fun. Also, the deeply theological posts took more time than I could justify.

I’m changing the focus of the blog to be about raising my daughters with a particular focus on efforts to raise them to be stay-at-home-moms (SAHMs). Why SAHMs? Erin, my wife, and I have seen the benefits of her being home to raise the girls. What we weren’t really prepared for was Erin’s transition to and from being a SAHM. The types of jobs she has transitioned from and to aren’t optimal. I want the girls to have the skills and focus on the type of careers that best lend themselves to being SAHMs. Corporate careers with a commute aren’t a good match for SAHMs, but more creative and entrepreneurial careers are.

I’m going to track the activities, projects, and lessons we experience together so that they have the tools and problem solving skills to find their way in a fast changing world.

NOTE: Here’s a secret. I don’t think what I’m teaching my girls is just for SAHMs. Whether they are blessed with children or not (or even if they were boys) what I’m trying to teach them are skills to handle change, think about and be intentional with their choices, and serve their neighbors in gratitude for the salvation Christ won for them with His death for their Sin.

 

 

{ 0 comments }

Sorting Universalism

My denomination, The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS) would be considered religious nuts by most of the Tech community. We believe the Bible is God’s word, that there is such a thing as sin that we all commit, that Jesus Christ was true man and true God, and He died a sacrificial death to atone for the sins of the whole world. Okay, I’ve probably lost most everyone but hopefully those who left read the entire previous sentence because that proclamation of the Gospel is really the most important thing anyone could get from reading this post.

Gospel proclamation aside, what I want to write about is the “bad week” my denomination has had regarding the reprimanding of a pastor who participated in a interfaith prayer service after the shootings in Newtown, CT. Why would any Christian be reprimanded for praying with and for others? Shouldn’t Christians take any opportunity to espouse what they believe? You Christians are supposed to be big on love, how loving is it to criticize this pastor when he was just trying to comfort and show love for his community?

Let’s look at an example from the field of computer science.
Let’s suppose there is a conference on sorting algorithms. The organizers don’t want any hostilities they just want to promote the benefits of sorting algorithms. Presentations can extoll the virtues of sorting, but can’t promote their algorithm above or denigrate any other algorithms. Of course you are presenting quicksort, someone else is presenting bubble sort, another selection sort, and finally someone is presenting bogosort.

The bubble sort presenter speaks about the beauty of sorting and the simplicity of small data sets. The selection sort presenter talks about the wonders of small memory footprints and the strength of sorted data. The bogosort presenter has an eclectic style that really reaches people emotionally with talk of the randomness that gave rise to the cosmos and the amazing combination of chaos and order. Finally, you present on quicksort and talk about speed, flexibility, and applications for sorting.

What have you succeeded in communicating especially to those not thoroughly versed in computer science? Sorting is a good thing. No algorithm is better than any other, just different. Quicksort is just another sorting algorithms, on par with bogosort. Some would say that you did a great thing by getting the word out on sorting and that somebody might truly come to understand the greatness of quicksort. Others would complain that you have just given legitimacy to bogosort. Your presentation next to bogosort gives the appearance that you see it as an equally acceptable sorting algorithm.

The example above illustrates the problem with participating in an interfaith prayer service. In order to participate, you must agree to the main thesis of the service which is to not pit one faith against another. Once you acquiesce to that, your proclamation, especially if it is one of exclusivity, is greatly weakened. Yes, you can proclaim God in some general way, and those who believe as you do will infer what you want them to, but those who see a different god see that your beliefs aren’t so different which is great in a Universalist sense, but not great for a Christian message. If you do proclaim the exclusivity of the Christian message then you have violated the implicit agreement of the interfaith service and will do much harm. By participating, you will either say too little, or say too much that’s why many, myself included, would say the best option is to decline participation.

So why did this get so much backlash and attention. Well, the pastor who participated in the interfaith service does not see any problem with what he did and many are trying to guide him to a correct understanding. Not all these corrective words were loving and some have caused the public kerfuffle which has put the LCMS in a negative light. Here’s the thing, we believe that Christians, even pastors, sin daily. We act unloving and we harden our hearts against those who disagree with us. That’s why we need the forgiveness that Christ gives us every day. We are not better than anyone else; the one we put our trust in IS.

{ 0 comments }