I have never been good with math. I remember late nights at the dinner table with my Mom & my Step Father, Lane going over long division or multiplication tables. Those were some very hard nights. The transition to positive and negative numbers put me in a tailspin that I never quite came out of. I remember Lane trying every which way to explain those mathematical operations; all the tricks and the memory devices and I also remember my brain turning off so it was really no use because by that time, he was speaking another language. We would all go to bed frustrated and I felt 2 inches tall. At some point, I decided that it was just not worth my time. I stopped trying. He stopped trying. The teachers, they also stopped trying.
Now I have Mogo, my little 3rd grade girl. We have already started with the late nights of math homework. My inner asshole screams loudly “but I already did 3rd grade! I couldn’t do it then, how am I supposed to explain it to her now???”
I am here to tell you that this side of the table is very different. I literally saw the moment when her brain shut down for the night. Those light bulbs I have seen over her head as she figured out how to tie her shoes or how to put one foot in front of the other… well, let’s just say there was a very loud pop. So, I told her to go to bed, we could finish up the next day. If we had stayed up until the bitter end it would have been fruitless.
Here is the thing… I will not stop trying to help her understand. I will figure out a way to help her along. I will not make her go to bed feeling like she has failed. I will not allow her teachers to stop trying either. I get that this might sound dramatic but really now is when it counts. If she decides she can’t do it this early, she will have that with her for the rest of her education. If she tackles this, then she will know she can tackle anything.
Besides, I know something now that I did not know then. There is more than one way to skin a cat. Mogo, her Dad & I will try every freaking way to help her understand. So as she heads to bed after another endless math session, I will kiss her sweet little head and I will remind her that she can do anything… because, she really can.