By Frank J. Buchman
“The problem is too many people can’t count.”
Now, this is speaking from experience. Arithmetic was a favorite grade school subject, adding, subtracting, learning multiplication-tables, dividing.
In high school, ‘Algebra I’ wasn’t easy, but we had a likeable teacher, who took time to help us get a good grade.
Going “the easy way out” like we often have, no math was on our sophomore schedule. Yet, sponsors contended, “Upper level math is required for college.”
So, we took ‘Algebra II’ and geometry, respectively, the next two years. Fortunately, both years we sat between two “smart” year-younger classmates, who helped us, get by. Likely “cheating,” but they offered, we copied, the teacher knew, and we graduated.
Trouble arose that fall when our advisor demanded: “You have to take college algebra.”
This time, the professor had no sympathy for a “dumb” cowboy, especially with all of the intelligent, rich “hippies” from New York City in our class. Being friends with those classmates, they did their best to help us understand the equation business.
During evening dorm sturdy sessions, they’d hardly look at the book, while we did our best to figure the stuff out. Next day, they’d all get “A’s,” and we “did good,” if the blood-red-marked test paper came back with a “C.” All said and done, the prof passed us.
That’s our excuse today when work bookkeepers point out an error in our tabulations: “We barely made it through college algebra.” They insist, “This isn’t algebra,” as we shrug, and walk away.
Still, sometimes we can add and subtract numbers in our head, and the multiplication-tables memorization continues to work well.
That doesn’t seem to be the case with many others, students and young adults alike. They “have to have a calculator” to figure “two and two are four.”
Biggest concern: “The problem” goes plumb to the nation’s leaders. They’re apparently incapable of counting the big numbers that were initially generated from us workers’ taxes.
Reminds us of Romans 9:27: “God doesn’t count us; He calls us by name.” Yet, Leviticus 25:15: “If your ·neighbor sells you land, count the years left for harvesting, and use that number to decide the price.” Furthermore, Proverbs 22:2: “You must give a correct answer to Him who sent you?” Then, Luke 10:28: “Answer correctly, and you will thrive.”