# Math Geek Mom: Damage From the Wind

Recovering from a storm.

## By

July 25, 2013

When I teach Calculus, I teach a section in which the area between two functions is calculated. Later, the volume between two three dimensional shapes is calculated using similar techniques. For example, one might take a cube and imagine the volume left if the shape if an ice cream “scoop” of a spherical shape is removed from one side of that cube. I found myself thinking of this particular problem last weekend when I looked at photographs of what had been, until last weekend, the gym at Ursuline College.

Immediately after showing pictures of our idyllic campus contrasted with the damage done by the tornado, the news showed an interview with our president, Sister Diana Stano, who said the only good thing that could be said; “no one was injured.” It was amazing to realize that all that damage had been done and no one was hurt. Indeed, many of the college’s neighbors who had been touched by the tornado had escaped with less damage than could have occurred. Huge trees had been uprooted, but none of them harmed anyone in the homes they had stood near, and property damage was much less than one would have expected. Referring to our Roman Catholic roots, one woman on the news even said that she felt that the tornado had “picked up a prayer at Ursuline.” that had protected the neighborhood.

This was the first tornado that my daughter has had any direct personal knowledge of, and she was scared to hear that a tornado had struck so close to her own home. I cringed when I remembered that we told her only a few weeks ago that the tornados in Oklahoma were far away, and that she was safe here. Alas, she is starting to really realize that such promises made by her parents are not promises that can be kept. Scary things happen everywhere, and as she grows, she will become more aware of this truth.

As I have found myself doing many times in her short life, I held her extra tight that night when I wished her good night, and once again wished that I could protect her from all that is bad and scary in the world. As I did, I thought of the other parents whose children had not been so lucky; the parents of the children in a movie theatre in Aurora, Colorado, and those who sent their healthy children to school one day in Chardon, Ohio and in Newtown, Connecticut. And yes, I was reminded of the parents of Tryvon Martin in Florida, whose child would never come get to come home. I am once again reminded that, in parenting, there are many things beyond my control, and that there are limits to the degree that I can protect my daughter from all of the scary things that blow thorough this world.

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