Mar 31

Trespasses of the Father

“Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us…”

I pray those words of the Our Father at every mass I attend, every time I pray the Rosary (infrequent though that is), when I remember to pray the Divine Office, and every night when I join my children in bedtime prayers.  Put in more modern language, they say “Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.” [Apologies to my non-Christian readers. There is a fatherhood angle to this, but it's not a secular one.]

Those words, expressive of God’s abundant mercy, are wonderful when you stop to really think about them. They are also very challenging to live out. I find them especially hard to live out with respect to my children.  Do I forgive their trespasses, or am I too distracted by punishing them? I am most keenly aware of my ...

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Mar 31

A Defense of (Some) Common Core Math

Can someone explain how to solve this problem using a number line? (SOURCE: Facebook/Patriot Post)

OK, this isn’t really a defense of Common Core math – at least not all of it. It’s really just a defense of my interpretation of one particular homework problem. However, I believe there are implications for Common Core math in general.

Odds are good that you’ve already seen this image spreading virally on Facebook and elsewhere. In case you haven’t, you can read the Yahoo! Shine article on it. The tl;dr version is that the image is a scan or photo of a circuitous Common Core formula for obtaining the difference of 316 from 427 without simply calculating the subtraction. Instead of allowing his child to follow the assignment’s instruction to find the error “Jack” made, and explain the error in a letter to Jack, the father wrote a rant against Common Core mathematics ...

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Mar 25

Magic Beans: From Pantry to Garden

What can you do with dried beans that are past the use-by date?

What can you do with dried beans that are past the use-by date?

You bought that bag of dried beans the best of intentions. You were sure you were going to make soup, stew, and chili from them. But soaking them overnight (or longer) was a nuisance, and canned beans were so much easier to deal with, so you left the bag in the pantry after trying a recipe or two. You really did mean to use them again some day, but you kept putting it off. The bag got pushed further and further back into the pantry until it was completely forgotten. It collected dust in the back of the pantry for years until one day you decide it’s time for some spring cleaning.

In the midst of throwing out years-expired cakes mixes and the like, you rediscover your beans. They’re past the printed use-by date, but do dried ...

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Mar 19

Welcome, NEXTpittsburgh Readers!

BlogFest 3 article photo

Is this a scene from Alien?

So, the handsome fellow in the photo doing his best Executive Officer Kane impression is me almost 9 years ago at a blogfest. (The other fellow is my good friend, Rob Carr.) That accidental Alien re-enactment was photographed for my 15 minutes of fame in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, in an article about Pittsburgh bloggers meeting face-to-face (back when blogs were still a bit of a novelty).

This trip down memory lane was prompted by a new 15 minutes of fame in the new webzine NEXTpittsburgh. Far behind me are the days of writing for “one of the most interesting sites in the city”, according to Timothy McNulty (P-G reporter and mayoral communications manager), and there’s no awkward photo in the piece by Marty Levine (editor at Kidsburgh, among other jobs). In fact, there’s no photo of me at all, which is probably a ...

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Mar 18

“Be” Attitudes

I’ve been telling myself ever since I finished my PhD that I’d get back into blogging. It’s pretty obvious that I’ve been about as successful at that as most new year resolutions or Lenten disciplines. Let’s hope that this is only the first of many new posts. :)

Starting even before Lent, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about setting a better example and making behavioral expectations clearer for my children in terms of treating people well. This is important to me not only in terms of needing less corrective discipline, but also setting good examples as Christians in the world. Furthermore, I’ve been concerned about being inconsistent an/s or hypocritical, demanding behavior from my children that I do not consistently model. In that light, I set out to construct a concise list of “commandments” for our household. I ended up basing them on a combination of the beatitudes (from Christ’s ...

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