Our small children had a lively discussion, an epiphany actually, in the kitchen while making chocolate chip cookies. It’s just a simple thing, but they were interested in the way the ingredients unified to make the cookie dough, and the chips stayed separate. Some ingredients work together to form dough, and some retain their own quality.
That led to a discussion about how if any ingredient, big or small, was missing, the cookie would would be changed. The two cups of flour, baking soda, and salt mixture that got dumped in the trash because someone mistook tablespoons for teaspoons were evidence enough — even the small ingredients have a precise purpose. It was a good math and science lesson.
There are certainly better analogies, but since all of our analogies combined still would not allow us to fully comprehend the revealed mystery of the Blessed Trinity, I took the opportunity to explain how that cookie is like God and His plan too. God is One God, but three Persons. We are one body, in Christ. The whole human race was made to desire unity and the Church strives to unite people and guide them to Heaven. We all are part of something bigger than each of us individually, but we each have our role to play too, whether it seems big or small. It is like a family, one and united, but made of individuals. The human family is bigger, the Heavenly family bigger still.
There is a unity in education too. I long considered academic education and religious education to be completely separate spheres, totally unrelated. Our public schools approach education that way, after all. Academics are taught at school; religious education is optional, go to church if you want it.
Now I see that all education should be united, as in universitas. The university came into being because faith declared the search for the truth to be possible. Religious education, theology, is what unites the origin and purpose of all other bodies of knowledge, whether you are five or fifty-five. As anyone knows who has ever had that wonderful experience of baking cookies with children (messes aside), it is not just in the cookie that we can see God, it’s bigger than that, in the love, joy, and togetherness, the communion. Baking cookies is certainly a math and science lesson, but those subjects are part of something bigger — the truth about a loving God who ordered all things in measure, number, and weight.