Yesterday my dad came by with his wife and nephew. (Aren’t blended families fun? Thankfully, while we may stumble over relationship titles occasionally, we love all the people.)
When I was a kid my dad used to do math games with me when I had visitation time with him. Frankly, I hated it. I loved the attention—I was positively anemic for love and praise from my dad—but I never felt good enough or fast enough during these games. It didn’t occur to me that making a mistake didn’t reflect on my intrinsic worth.
To this day, I get all squirmy and my brain freezes when someone asks me a question that has to do with math. It is silly how frantic I get on the inside making change, or calculating the simplest sums.
My son, praise the Lord, is a little more grounded and a lot more confident than I was at his age. He is also blessed with the math genes. Mental math isn’t an exercise or goal for him, but just a way of being, the stinker!
So yesterday when my dad came over, he had a math problem. If a random number generator generated numbers 1 to 100 100 times, what is the probability of 1 coming up. Or something like that. They all worked on it for about an hour. I was really enjoying watching my son work with my dad and step-mom. He made leaps that weren’t always right, but could follow instructions to get to the right place. He was comfortable being wrong, and thrilled with each breakthrough.
My dad is a good teacher, too. He let him leap ahead, even if he was wrong, to foster the excitement, but knew how to steer him to the right step. He also read his face—my son’s an open book with his unfiltered facial expressions—and responded accordingly.
My little girl, on the other hand, begged me silently on the sidelines to play the piano or dance or anything to try and get some attention pulled from this vortex of numbers swirling around the room. They keep saying she’s just like me!