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Love and courage

Yesterday I wrote a post about learning, and linked to my friend Dan Steinberg's new blog about creating a calculus book. He was supposed to have arrived here in Boulder today, to spend the weekend working on it with us. He had just turned in the first chapter, and it was the most amazing thing. He cares so deeply about learning, and he has always been inspired by the idea of creating the book that his children would one day grow into. Dan isn't interested just in teaching the topic, he wants to inspire. He cares about giving his learners a taste of "the soul of math."

Shortly after I made that post, he sent us a message that his young daughter Elena had died quite suddenly and unexpectedly. He is the definition of family man and proud father--I've never known ANYONE who was so devoted to his children (and his wife, who he always refers to as "Kimmie the Wonder Wife".) I edited the post to remove the link because--knowing Dan--I was worried that he'd want to be "the good host." If it were me, I'm pretty sure I would just disappear and give not a moment's thought to anyone or anything else.

But that's not Dan. He is dedicating the book to his children; it's very important to him. So here's the link to his Extreme Teaching blog again. He'll need our help when he returns to work on it.

But Dan has created a new journal, Dear Elena, to help express his thoughts and feelings about this tragedy. Whether you know Dan or not, you will find courage in his messages, and as Brian Bailey said in the comments, "Such an emotional reminder to treasure every second with our children."

I'm sure Dan and his family will appreciate your thoughts, especially knowing that he inspired one more person to read just one more bedtime story...

Posted by Kathy on February 24, 2006 | Permalink

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Tracked on Feb 24, 2006 2:44:23 AM

Comments

I am so blown away by this post. I live in Elena's town, and while I did not know the family directly, Elena's death has been a huge blow to us all. In addition, this is a town where there are many people of different backgrounds, and my wife spent all day yesterday dealing with a family from Egypt whose daughter was close friends with Elena, but who are not terribly comfortable in English or our culture yet, and were having trouble dealing with the medical establishment, both in terms of getting antibiotics (recommended for all who had contact with Elena) and dealing with the grief. In the midst of it all, it has been terribly hard to know of this family's suffering but to know so little of who they are. I can't believe I opened up your weblog and read about them... and then read the weblog about Elena.

Sorry, I am a bit incoherent, but this is quite hard to deal with. The death of a child, suddenly and almost without warning, is a parent's worst nightmare, and having our community go through this, and knowing what the family must be going through, only makes it worse.

Posted by: Ben Langhinrichs | Feb 24, 2006 7:28:49 AM

I'm going home early today...very early.

Posted by: Brent Schlenker | Feb 24, 2006 11:07:36 AM

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