I love math. I always have. I was the kid in Algebra I who finished all her homework and then spent the rest of the class helping out the other students. I elected to take calculus my senior year. I was the only girl in a class of five boys. I majored in Math in college. Have I mentioned that I LOVE math!
When you ask my boys what their least favorite subject is, they always answer, "Math!" I don't get it! Math is awesome! You can always count on math. 1 + 1 is ALWAYS 2. It's not like English. You write a poem and maybe the teacher likes it, or maybe it's not her style. There is nothing subjective about math. You're either right or wrong. The teacher can't have an opinion about whether or not your answer is right. There is no gray area in Math.
So, why? Why do the progeny of a clearly math-gened woman tell the world that they hate math? I discovered why last Friday. While I was running errands and my husband stayed home with the boys, I listened to some old teaching tapes given me by my sister-in-law. On the tapes, the speaker advocated having a high level of intensity while teaching our children. He said that it was most important to be our children's biggest cheerleader while they were learning something new. According to these tapes, I need to focus on what the boys get right and not on the incorrect problems. I need to make each subject seem exciting, just by my reaction to it. If I do these things, the boys will respond accordingly.
Both boys are very good at math. They are both working one year above grade level. They pick up new concepts quickly and can do basic algebra problems in their heads. But they hate math. As I reflect on math lessons in the past, I know why they hate math. If they aren't focusing, I'm snapping at them to "get it done." If they don't pay attention and add instead of subtract on a page, I tell them that they've just earned an F.
I haven't been passing along my love of Math, I've just been legalistic about plowing through the work and getting onto the next subject.
As I type this, I wonder, what other subjects and areas of life am I also pushing the boys to "get through" instead of taking the time to enjoy and savor? Do I live a joyous life as a wife and mother to pass to them the desire to keep their wives at home? Do I get excited about our bible studies and show them a desire to be in the Word of God regularly?
Have you ever heard the saying "Attitude is everything"? I see the truth in that saying today as the Lord teaches me yet another lesson through my time with our children. I'm just glad I was listening. I wonder how many lessons I've missed because I was too busy to hear God's words?
I hope you are listening on your roller coaster ride.