Balloon Trick

May 19, 2010

This morning I found myself laughing and learning with my son, Brady, as we did a science experiment from one of his kid magazines.  The experiment required a plastic bottle, a balloon, a pitcher of hot water, and a pitcher of ice cold water.  We secured the balloon over the bottle’s mouth, and then we placed the bottle in one of the pitcher’s of water.  When we placed it in the hot water, the balloon filled with air.  In the cold water, the balloon deflated. 

While I understood the science as to why this happened (Thank you Sr. Ursula!), I was still fascinated by this experiment.  After removing the bottle from the hot water and placing it in the cold, the balloon would deflate so quickly that it would end up inside the bottle.  Every time we did this, we both broke into fits of laughter. We were so enamored by this experiment, we spent an entire hour during Abby’s nap doing the “balloon trick”.  When we ended our experiment, Brady knew new words and concepts such as heat, expansion, deflate, boil, hot air expands, cold air shrinks, etc.   I re-learned concepts, I shared a special moment with my son, and I learned how inquisitive my son can be. 

It is moments like this that make me stop and realize the responsibility I have as a parent to teach my son about science, math, reading, life, people, and faith.  There is so much knowledge out there.  He is like a little sponge right now absorbing letters, numbers, words, and new concepts.  As I share the small pieces of knowledge I understand with Brady, his face lights up as he slowly forms language to articulate the experience and his understanding.
Growing in our faith and sharing our faith with others is much like doing a science experiment with Brady.  We share an experience of the Sacred together–a cherished conversation between two friends, a beautiful scene in nature, a new insight or awareness, a small Eucharistic gathering with friends around our dinner table, a retreat, a mass.  We are present to each other.  We laugh.  We learn.  We experiment.  As we do this, we slowly form language to articulate our experience and understanding of the Sacred in our lives.

Where are we learning new things about that Sacred presence of God in our lives? 

Becky is an Ignatian-trained spiritual director, retreat facilitator, and writer. She is the author of the Busy Lives and Restless Souls (March 2017, Loyola Press) and The Inner Chapel (April 2020, Loyola Press). She helps others create space to connect faith and everyday life through facilitating retreats and days of reflection, through writing, and through spiritual direction. With nearly twenty years of ministry experience within the Catholic Church, Becky seeks to help others discover God at work in the every day moments of people’s lives by utilizing St. Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises and the many gifts that our Catholic faith and Ignatian Spirituality provide.

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