Excerpt from
The Jensen Family

Probably he got caught in a steel trap like this one over here," their dad said, pointing to an exhibit in the next case.
"But how could he get free from that?" Julie asked.

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– posted 12.04.2009

#75: Tides Can Teach (2)

A Character story about influence.

The Jensens were enjoying a day near the Bay of Fundy. After lunch, they hiked through the woods, and then lay on a blanket in the sun. About mid-afternoon, they moseyed down toward the water again to see the receding tide.
"Wow!" Julie squealed. "Look how much the water has gone out already! Let's go down to the edge."
"Last one there is a rotten egg," Mr. Jensen challenged, snatching up Joshua and dashing across the beach.
"I smell a rotten egg arriving," Jason teased, panting at the water's edge.
"Nu-uh. Mom's behind me," Julie defended.
"She doesn't count. She had all the picnic stuff."
"Let's count to 50 and see how much the water moves back," Mr. Jensen suggested.
When they finished, Jason guessed the water was about 20 feet away. "That sure is a lot of water to move around," he commented. "It seems like some places would get flooded during the high tide."
"Oh, the tides are quite a bit smaller in other places in the world. I know in Boston I was told the tides are only about 10 feet."
"And I believe in New York City," Mrs. Jensen added, "The tide is only about 5 feet."
"Only 5 feet?" Julie repeated. "And that's on the same ocean. What makes so much difference?"
"Keep in mind that the tide in the middle of the ocean is only 1 or 2 feet. The main reason for much larger tides is the shape of the land. Look here." Mr. Jensen took a sharp rock and drew in the sand. "This is the shape of the Bay of Fundy. It looks like a giant funnel with two spouts, doesn't it? You see, as the tide rises, lots of water enters on the west side and this water moves toward the smaller east end. Because the bay is narrower and shallower there, the water kind of piles up. That's why Fundy has the world's largest tides."
"I understand that," Jason remarked, "but what if the opening is small into a big bay? Would it do the opposite?"
"It sure does. For example the Mediterranean Sea is shaped like this, with the tiny opening to the ocean at Gibraltar. This sea has almost no tide at all."
Julie swatted at a horsefly buzzing around her head. "So the tide can rise and fall from almost zero to over 50 feet, depending on where you are?"
"Right. Say, did either of you two know that the tide will be higher in January than in June?"
"I didn't," Jason admitted. "Does it have anything to do with the cold weather?"
"Not really. On January 2nd the earth is closer to the sun than on any other day. So high spring tides will have a stronger pull from the sun on the days closest to that. If the moon is also closest to earth at that time, we can get record tides."
"That's interesting," Julie mused. "Boy, lots of things affect the tides, don't they?"
"Yes, and I haven't told you all of them. Even the air pressure can make the tides-"
"EEEEEEK!" Julie screamed, shaking her left foot.
Mrs. Jensen jumped back, startled. "What's the matter?"
"Some ugly creature was crawling on my foot," she squealed with a shiver.
"These aren't ugly creatures." Jason knelt down and picked up something. "It's a cute little crab. Here little crab. Bite Julie's nose. She called you ugly," he said, poking the crab into his sister's face.
"EEEEEK!" she screamed again, swatting at Jason's hand. "Mom, make Jason stop."
"I'm just trying to give you a close up look so you can see he's not ugly." Jason looked along the sand as he lay the crab down. "Wow, there's all kinds of these things along here. We didn't see them this morning."
"You're right," Mr. Jensen agreed. "They come in with the tide. I'll show you something else. Take a sharp rock and dig into the sand here and see if you can find a clam." Everyone began to dig and soon they had each found at least one. "The clam digs into the sand when the tide is low, but he comes out to catch food when he is under water."
"Hey, look how far the water has gone out now!" Julie said, pointing. "And it's still got another 2 hours to go."
"Dad, why do you think God made the tides?" Jason wondered.
"That's a good question. Besides displaying His power, the tides also keep the water moving and this cleans the shores and provides food for many creatures like the crab. Also tidal pools along the shore catch water at high tide and hold it during low tide. Here sea creatures are trapped and gulls like those up there can fish for them. Also, some fish lay eggs on the shore in highest tide and they hatch in the sand. I'm sure there are many other benefits of the tides. But here's an analogy I was thinking of this afternoon." Mr. Jensen picked up two stones again. "Let's make believe this rock is you this time, and this one here is a friend. Remember that, although the sun is much larger, the moon is closer and has a greater influence on the tides? Well, the Lord is much larger too. Yet your friends can have a greater drawing power on your lives. When your friend and the Lord are both influencing you in the same direction- toward good things- then it's easier to do what is right. But if your friend's influence is the opposite of what God wants- like this- then which one will have the greater influence?"
"It should be God, but too often it's the other kids," Julie admitted.
"Right you are. That's why it's so important to pick the right kind of friends. Someone has said that we all tend to become like the people with whom we spend our time. Be sure those people are ones who will help you do right."
"Yes, and it's also a good reminder to be the right kind of friend to others," Mrs. Jensen added. "If you can encourage them in the things that are pleasing to the Lord, then you have an attraction that will give more eternal benefit than the tides."
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answer to PUZZLE FOR THE MATH MINDED

At the end of the last story, I gave you this puzzle: If the high tide were at 12 o'clock noon on September 1st, it would be 25 minutes later for the next high tide (Sept 2nd at 12:25am), 50 minutes later on the next one (12:50pm on the 2nd), etc. On what day and month would the next high tide arrive at 12 o'clock sharp? Would it be at noon or at midnight? Here is the answer:
In a half day the high tide would be 25 minutes later. Thus this tide could never reach exactly 12 o'clock. In a full day the even tide would be 50 minutes later, or 5/6 of an hour. Since the tide is 1/6th of an hour short of the exact hour, and we are working with a 12 hour clock, multiply 6 times 12 and you get 72 even high tides, or midnight starting November 14th (remember to add 2 1/2 days because each tide is 50 minutes longer than a day). To get another noon tide, multiply 6 times 24 (hours in a full day) and you get 144 even tides, or January 27th of next year (add an extra 5 days since 50 minutes per day times 144 days is 7200 minutes or 5 more days). If you worked out each high tide, you might have noticed that October 1st and October 15th were only 10 minutes from a 12 o'clock tide. On September 9th and October 24th, the tides would be at 6:40 and 6:30 respectively. The next tide, 6 hours and 25 minutes later, would be only 5 minutes from a 12 o'clock tide. Why would September 16th and October 16th have only 1 high tide?