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17.03.2006 Diaspora News

A lesson for us all from a mathematical theory.

By Kojo Albion

ABC's "Primetime" of March 16th 2006- "Life Games" has a serious parable for us all as we seek the common good for Mother Ghana. One of the mathematical concepts that was played out (Life Game) has a message worthy of repeating here.

The challenge was for six teams of two people who do not know each other and they were given $100 each were asked to find two people in New York. They have not met each other, they do not have times and places arranged and yet they were sent out from different locations to find each other in New York.

According to Dr Terry Goodman, a Mathematics Professor at Central Missouri State University (Warrensburg, Missouri):

"It is an interesting concept and I think it focuses not so much on the mathematical theory behind this, but more on human interaction and problem solving.

It seems to me that, one reason that the groups in the Show were successful in this seemingly "impossible" task was that they were highly motivated to succeed. I tell my students that in many ways, success in mathematics is spelled "Work." Obviously, a person has to have an appropriate level of ability, but attitude and perseverance are crucial.

I think it is also revealing that each pair focused on what the other pairs might be thinking/planning. Even though the groups were not physically together, in some sense, they were "working" together. My experience in working with practicing teachers is that if you put a highly motivated group together and help them focus on how they can build upon each other's strengths, you can accomplish much!

I also think it is important that we not only agree on the objective, but that we trust each other. If I have trust in you as a person and I know that we have a common goal, then I am more likely to "allow" you to approach the task in a way that is different from my approach. In fact, I will more readily recognize that having different approaches to the problem will actually be a strength of what we are doing." (Dr Terry Goodman)

We can do no less. Let us learn from the above parable and do all that we can by the grace of God to move Mother Ghana forward. The country is ready to fly if we will come together "and not only agee on the objective, but that we trust each other."

"Let us weed our portions of the plot properly and soon we will meet in the middle."