Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Lesson in Geometry

Hello Optimists,

It's been a while since I have studied math. I used to hate it, but then I guess once I figured some things out, I really started to like it. In high school I took the hardest math and physics classes offered and did pretty well. Then in college, I finished my two required semesters, used it a bit in science courses, and that was it. So I was thinking back on all of the fun times in math class that I really no longer need to worry about, and I wondered, is there anything that I studied so hard for that I can to use now?

I mean, where in my everyday life will I need to know how to find the derivative of an equation or the cosine of -1? I guess maybe geometry could be useful at some point....where exactly I don't really know. You know geometry, the fun stuff: finding the areas of all those shapes and distances of lines and curves. Ok, maybe you would disagree on the "fun" part. Hope I haven't lost you. But speaking of geometry, the only thing I really remember about that wonderful course is the Pythagorean Theorem, which will forever be ingrained in my brain. I was reminded of all of these fond memories when I came across today's quote...I wish there was some extra room in the lesson plans to teach this:

A smile is a curve that sets everything straight. 

That could definitely fit into a geometry class, right? Guaranteed it is one lesson (other than the pythagorean theorem) that I would have remembered and can actually use in life. And I think it's a very important one. Everyday we get hundreds of opportunities to smile, but do we take them? How many times has your bad day been turned around when you see someone smile, or when someone makes you smile? It's a sign of happiness, of joy, surprise and comfort- things we all like to feel. A simple smile just has a way of making things better, it just really straightens things out. It's the reason I sign all of my posts the way I do, just a subtle reminder of the importance of such a small gesture.

Ok, so I don't foresee this being added to the curriculum any time soon, especially in college math courses. I can just picture the faces of my professors if I were to propose this lesson...and let me tell you, it would probably not be a smile. Nonetheless, it is a lesson that we can all pencil into our own calendars and practice with our friends. It's really easy- no calculators required (phew!). Now that should give you something to be happy about! So, go ahead, give it a try...

Keep Smiling,
Optimal Optimist

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