Here’s the song reference.
We are a family of science nerds; the Lord’s creation is vast and fascinating, and every nook and cranny of it holds some wonder, some miracle, at which we can marvel if we take the time to do so. I’ve had a friend or two express surprise that our family, where faith in Jesus Christ is the center of our life, spends so much time studying the sciences, and I have to admit their bewilderment is confusing to me. If anyone can explain to me, logically, why Christians would not enjoy biology, chemistry, physics, or any other scientific discipline, I’d appreciate it.
At any rate, we keep a pretty decent variety of science books on hand, from leveled readers about topics like honeybees and lightning to actual texts from Seton’s and Abeka’s science series, and whenever we happen upon a used book sale, we dive into the piles looking to augment our library. The world is an interesting place — just ask a little kid.
We’ve just started Abeka’s third grade science text, Exploring God’s World, the first chapter of which deals with the workings of the human body. Bugaboo and Beanie view the workings of their bodies with awe and wonder, and they are intensely curious about such things as why sugar tastes sweet, why it’s difficult to see in a darkened room, and why some people can run faster than others. The chapter begins with an explanation of the nervous system, and how the five senses work in terms of the nervous system. This is neat stuff, and lends itself to all sorts of excuses to bounce around the kitchen touching things, knocking on our heads to see how securely our skulls protect our brains, and tracing our backbones to figure out how long our spinal cords are.
Dover Publications puts out a really cool anatomy coloring book, so, armed with copies of the section on the nervous system, Bugaboo and I set about looking at a cutaway view of a human body and picking out the brain, organs controlled by the autonomic nervous system (she is terribly proud of herself for being able to pronounce “autonomic”), and muscles. She particularly likes that each page comes with a color key, so she can work on her understanding of anatomy and expand her vocabulary of anatomical terms at the same time. The Latin words fascinate her, so we’re glad we decided to start having the girls study elementary Latin after the first of the year. One of the really cool fruits of our scientific labors is that the girls (and probably Mr. Man, too, since he tends to hang around and offer his input during seatwork time) already understand that there are many different languages, and each of those languages has a different phonetic and syntactic system. They don’t know those exact terms, but they do understand that when they come to a word that’s really unfamiliar, it’s frequently productive to inquire whether the word is in English or some other tongue.
After we finished up our work on the nervous system, I grinningly mentioned to Bugaboo and Beanie that a 70 degree December day was a perfect opportunity to explore their five senses and the workings of their autonomic nervous systems by running amok in the back yard. My instructions to them were to run as fast as they could for as long as they could, and notice how the ANS caused them to breathe faster in response to exertion. Ten minutes later, two panting little girls pounded up the steps to breathlessly inform me that they were, in fact, breathing faster, and how cool it was that God made their bodies work like that automatically. I had them put their hands over their hearts, too, and they were both quite excited to note that their heartbeats, like their breathing, were faster. After a drink of water and a reiteration to Beanie that the autonomic nervous system would also tell her body to make pee, so she needed to remember to use the potty, we re-read the snippet of Psalm 139 that began the chapter before the girls zoomed back out into the yard to show Baby Guy how to make leaf piles and jump in them.
Today’s prayer: Lord, Your blessings are learning about what You have made with great wonder and awe. Please help us nurture their curiosity about how things work, and help us guide their explorations by the principle that You, Who are the author of all things, have created each human person, and by Your hand we are wonderfully made. As they explore the mysteries of how You created their bodies to work, help us tenderly teach them that You created each of us in Your image, and that every human life You have designed is precious and deserving of respect and dignity. Kindle in our hearts, Lord, a flame of faith that will lead us to defend and succor those who are weak, poor, defenseless, and forgotten, and use us as Your instruments of blessing to them.