One embarrassing aspect of my parenting that keeps rearing its ugly head is my abysmal understanding of math. Or, as my brother might phrase it, the complete and total absence of even meager understanding. My daughter, grappling with variables and graphing, asks for help, and then is reduced to querying, How did you get through calculus anyway? Or are you lying about that?
As I was flanked on either side by math luminosity in my older sister and younger brother, headed up by my PhD-in-physics father, skipping out of math wasn’t an option for me… and yet somehow I always felt in Prob & Stats class like I was the dog with its head hanging out the window, tongue flapping, dreaming of distant rivers to swim.
Hence, my humanities path.
Now math returns to me frequently (often on Sunday evenings). With something approaching horror, I heard my daughter claim her teacher doesn’t want to see her math work, merely the answers. What? I demand. Show your work was a cardinal rule of my student life, along with always use a pencil, these dictums wound so deeply into me I can’t abide the thought of breaking these basic rules. That’s tantamount to crossing a street with your eyes closed. My daughter looks at me with complete exasperation, fully ready to do just about anything else.
While I admit Solve for x still runs a chill up my spine, I have learned a few things since those trig days. My advice: begin with what you know. Scope out your variables, size up your know-how, and savvy up a plan.
Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere.
— Anne Lamott