New Math

By MacFarquhar, Larissa | The New Yorker, March 15, 2010 | Go to article overview

New Math


MacFarquhar, Larissa, The New Yorker


Fourteen-year-olds frequently accuse their parents of moral dereliction; parents do not frequently respond by selling their house and donating half the proceeds to villagers in Ghana. But such was the response of Kevin and Joan Salwen, of Atlanta, to their daughter, Hannah. Kevin and Hannah went on to write a book, "The Power of Half," in which they encourage other families to do something similar. And recently they carried this incendiary message to the teen-agers of Marymount, a private Catholic girls' school on Fifth Avenue, across from the Met.

The Salwens stood in the school chapel. They wore jeans; the Marymount girls wore kilts. They told their story. One day in 2006, Kevin and Hannah pulled up at a stoplight. To their left was a homeless man, to their right a guy in a Mercedes coupe. Hannah said, "Dad, if that man didn't have such a nice car, then that homeless man could have a meal." Kevin said, "Yes, but if we didn't have such a nice car that man could have a meal." This sank in rather more deeply than he'd intended. By dinnertime, Hannah was all worked up. She didn't want to be a family that just talked about doing good, she said. She wanted to be a family that actually did something. Kevin and Joan explained that they did a lot: they volunteered at the food bank; they wrote big checks to charities; after Hurricane Katrina, they let a family of refugees stay in their basement. Hannah rolled her eyes. That was annoying, so Joan said, "What do you want to do, sell the house?" And Hannah said, "Yeah! That is exactly what I want to do."

"We don't expect anyone else to sell their house," Hannah assured the Marymount girls, whose parents might not have appreciated a demand by their offspring to donate eight hundred thousand dollars (half the value of the Salwens' house) to charity. "We know that's a ridiculous thing to do. But everyone has something they can afford to give away. If you watch six hours of TV a week, maybe you cut that down to three hours and spend three with your family volunteering at a homeless shelter."

A girl with a ponytail raised her hand. "Have you ever regretted selling your house?" she asked.

"There are some things that I miss," Hannah said. "We had an elevator that led up to my room, and it was really cool, because nobody else had an elevator in their room. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

New Math
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.