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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Science Sundays: Raising a child with both Science and Faith

 

“Science investigates; religion interprets. Science gives man knowledge, which is power; religion gives man wisdom, which is control. Science deals mainly with facts; religion deals mainly with values. The two are not rivals.”-Martin Luther King Jr.

    
   

    I have been blessed with a bright little boy that is passionate about many things. Music, Art, MMA, Science, and God are his biggest passions. He can spend hours drawing and coloring. He can listen to a song and pick out every single instrument played, his ears in-tuned with every detailed sound. Wide eyed and curious he comes to me on most days asking to do a science experiment, something we have been doing together since he was barely two years old.  As the day winds down and he is snuggled in bed, the sound of crickets playing a sweet lullaby over the soft hum of the humidifier, he turns to me every night and asks if we can pray. We pray for our families and friends and give thanks for all God has given us. 

     In the past few years I have seen many things circulating on various social networks, one topic in particular hit a nerve within me. Masses of opinions regarding the fact that science and religion do not and could not coexist. When it boils down to it, these opinions stressed that if you were religious and believed in God you were a moron and oblivious to science. On the contrary these opinions also stated that if you believed in evidence based science you automatically are an atheist. That got me really digging deep into my personal beliefs and I mediated long and hard on this topic. 
    
     As a nurse I rely on science every single day. I know that when taking a blood pressure the systolic pressure is the pressure in the artery during the ventricular contraction phase of the heart cycle and the diastolic pressure is the pressure in the artery when the ventricles are relaxed. I know the complexities of balancing electrolytes in the body and the affects on the body when these levels are off. Electrolytes are minerals in your body that have an electric charge. Sodium, calcium, potassium, chlorine, phosphate and magnesium are all electrolytes. I know that I am to advise a patient to avoid Vitamin K when taking Coumadin as the two have opposite effects on the body. Vitamin K causes the blood to clot and the Coumadin is taken to prevent clotting. What most people don't know, however, is that many of us nurses also turn to God on many occasions. We pray for our patients and for their families. We pray for guidance and strength. We have heard and seen miracles happen that science could not explain. We are trained to be compassionate to all faiths and religions and offer guidance when needed.
     
     My conclusion? Faith and Science indeed go hand and hand. I believe in God and that he created all that surrounds us. This is my FAITH. Although I can not see it right in front of me, I feel it in my heart and have had many blessings in life by our Lord. I believe in science, cold hard evidence placed before our eyes. This is my KNOWLEDGE. These I can touch, study, see, and test. Perhaps God created evolution and placed the stars in the sky. He designed our detailed and magnificent bodies, like well oiled machines. Perhaps God is the greatest engineer of all time. Mayim Bialik, a well known actress and neuroscientist wrote, "For example, if they ask me, “Why is the sun sunny?” (yes, my 4-year-old asked me this a few weeks ago), I give an explanation about the sun being a giant ball of a hot gas, like the kind that fills up a balloon. If I’m asked the proverbial “Why?” the answer is, “Because that’s the way HaShem made the world.”

     So can I raise my children learning both about God and Science? The answer is yes and that is why I have started Science Sundays in our home. Every Sunday after church we will reflect on one simple bible verse and then try out a new science experiment. Since I am working this weekend we started our project a few days early this week. I will be documenting our weekly journey here. 

Week One:
Science: About The Lungs
Faith: Psalm 150:6

This fun experiment teaches you the role of the diaphragm when inhaling and exhaling. We have done this project once before, and still remains a household favorite.We start our lesson by reading about the specific topic we will be learning about.

You Will Need:
  • Play Dough
  • Empty plastic water bottle
  • Scissors
  • Straw
  • 2-3 rubber gloves
  • Tape
How To: 
Cut the bottle in half keeping the part with the bottle neck and tossing the bottom.
Cut two fingers off of a rubber glove for the lungs. Try to cut it high enough so that they will inflate together. 
Tape the lungs to the bottom of the straw as shown in the video below.
Place straw with lungs attached into the bottle and affix with play dough. My son likes to pretend the play dough is the epiglottis, even though that would be up before the trachea.
Affix an intact rubber glove around the base of the bottle.
video
Project complete! You can now see how your lungs inflate when your diaphragm contracts and deflates when your diaphragm relaxes!

Here is the bible verse we reflected on tonight:"Let everything that has breath praise the Lord."





Next week a robotic hand to learn about ligaments and pretty soon a real live working robot. Stay tuned!
 




Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Things I have learned from being a mommy to a boy


 From the moment your wonderful news makes a physical debut in the form of an adorable bump peeking out from an unbuttoned jacked you hear it. You hear it from family, from friends, from the sweet old lady in aisle 5 as she touches your stomach. "Enjoy every moment, it goes by so fast." You hear it and it resonates within you, but you never fully understand how fast it is going to go until you are living it. I think what they mean when they tell you this is that while some days are long the years are short. There are some days you are counting down until bedtime, you know those days. Blink and those days turned into years.
6 years ago my husband and I brought home our sweet little boy from the hospital and we became a family of three. I can still remember that new baby smell, a mixture of Dreft and Johnson and Johnson lotion, as I held him over my shoulder, kissing his little nose. While he still likes to snuggle his mom those moments are fleeting and he can barely fit into my arms. He is now tall enough to ride most of the big rides at Disney World and seems to grow by the minute. How can those pants be too short, we just bought them last month?! It feels like just yesterday I stood before him with arms wide open as he took his first wobbly steps towards me. Now I sit before him at the kitchen table helping him with homework. He is his own person now. What an amazing gift to watch your once helpless little newborn turn into their own person.  A sweet loving boy with an amazing sense of humor. He is wise and yet still so child like. Constantly thinking of others he is the first to ask me how my night at work went and how he can help around the house. When I come downstairs dressed for date night he always stops what he is doing to tell me how pretty I look, one of the many sweet gestures he gets from his father. I am a lucky girl. He has a passion for all things science and music with a mean spiral when throwing a football. He is the definition of BOY and that scared the living daylights out of me 6 years ago.
When the ultrasound confirmed we were having a boy, my husband's face lit up. The father and son relationship is a special one, and one we all know about. What I didn’t know was about the mother-son relationship and how this little red hair/ blue eye boy would change my life forever. Growing up it was always just me and my sister. I knew nothing about raising a little boy and often wondered how our relationship would be. You see mothers and daughters enjoying mani pedis, shopping, and gossiping. You see fathers and sons at the park playing catch, fishing at the lake, and sharing a beer. Where will I fit in in this sweet boys life when he has become my whole world?
It didn't take long to learn where I stand in his world. I am his nurse, the one he comes to when his stomach is hurting or he needs a band-aid and a kiss. I am, along with his amazing father, teaching him how to be a gentleman as he asks to go on special Starbucks dates with me and even holds the door open. I am his cheerleader and enjoy every moment watching from the sidelines as kicks  a goal or slides into home. I am his teacher and will read to him for as long as he wants and teach him about anything and everything he wants to know. As parents we teach our children every single moment of their lives. How to talk, walk, read, and write. How to be polite, play a new game, throw a baseball. I wonder if our children realize they they also teach us so much more just by being themselves, pure and innocent.
Here are just a few things I have learned in my short 6 years as a mother. 
1.) Superheroes don't have dance parties or talk it out. I have a confession, while I'm great at playing games (anyone down for a game of Tag or Mousetrap?) I stink at playing with my sons toys. I often find myself sitting in front of his Batman cave holding Spider-Man in my hand trying to make it seem as if I LOVED it. I grew up on Barbies and Polly Pockets and truly this is torture for me. I am just not wired to fend off villains. "Hey batman," I say one particular day, moving my Spider-man figurine closer to his. "Want to have a dance party?" My son looks at me and smiles. "Mommy they have to fight the bad guys. Watch me," he says as he holds another darker figure in his opposite hand as he makes them fight. "Take that! Bam! Pow!" I watch as he innocently plays in a way that just comes natural to him. I can't help but to think, Should I be teaching him violence is not the answer? Yes I believe so. I chime in, "Maybe they should talk about what they are feeling?" I said. I will never forget his face when he looked up at me. "Mommy, want to go on a hike or ride bikes?" he asks enthusiastically. "I want to go outside now." That moment when your young child doesn't want to hurt your feelings and would rather just spend time with you....you never forget it. We still have many adventures together in homemade living room forts, magical hikes, craft and story time, and learning new things, but he saves superheroes for dad now and I am OK with that.





2.) It's OK to get dirty. Some grass and dirt stains may never come out and I can't even begin to tell you how many pairs of pants we had to get rid of for ripping at the knees, but the memories attached to those messes are worth more than a $10 pair of pants!


3.) UNPLUG and PUT THE PHONE DOWN. Children and adults both crave undivided attention. When you are out with your friends or speaking with your kids remember eye contact and put away the phone. You are missing so many special moments. That post will be there in a few hours. 
4.) Fresh  air and sweat cures all. Ever notice how the kids get antsy and moody by the end of a bad winter or a particularly rainy season? We often take our children out to "run off some steam," but what about us? I found nothing gets me out of a funk faster than a nice long walk or a good sweat at the gym.


5.) Dance it out. If you are a huge Grey's Anatomy fan like me you know that Meredith and Christina usually dance out their frustrations. Every morning was a struggle to get my son up and ready for school- that is until I started this new routine. I dance and sing around the room until he wakes up and joins me. I don't know if it is the fact that it helps him get energized or the fact he can't stand my singing-but hey at least he is laughing and at school on time. 


6.) Try your best. We are often found saying this to our children but what about us? We put so much pressure on ourselves as parents and at times beat ourselves up when we make mistakes. We are human and mistakes are the only way we learn. No matter what the task is, just try your best and if you fail try it again tomorrow and this time do it better.
7.) Friends pick up where they left off. Nothing teaches you more about true friendships then when you pack up your family and move away from your child's first set of school friends. They show us that we don't have to necessarily talk everyday, but good friends are hard to come by and we must savor and cherish those special bonds.


8.) Get right back up. Kid's are incredibly resilient and strong. Often their falls hurt us more than them. Watching them get right back up and try again without fear is something we can all learn from. No mater what, GET BACK UP.


9.) Never underestimate the wisdom of a young child. Some of the best conversations I have ever had were with my little one. Their thoughts are pure and not yet corrupted by society and what they need to think and believe. Just are true to themselves, something I wish we could just bottle up.