My Dad stopped by earlier today and said teasingly, "Don't write tonight. You should have a day off." He may or may not have been sarcastic as I have fallen off the consistency wagon when it comes to this site, but I am STUBBORN as the day is long, and if you tell me NO -- that is where I GO! He told me NOT to write, so here I am. Of course, he's pretty smart so no doubt he told me that on purpose. He knows what he is doing.
"I AM NOT A MATH PERSON!"
This is a phrase that we've all heard more than once, and maybe even said more than once. No one really bats an eye, and many people will join in and agree with the speaker. I've heard students say it. I've heard parents say it. I've heard teachers say it.
My first love was words. I loved books, and don't remember a time when I wasn't able to read. My older sister was always hidden behind a book, and I determined early on that I would unravel the mystery of those marks across the page. Words were easy friends that I rushed out to meet. I understand that this isn't how it is for everyone and for some, learning to read was a tremendous struggle. Yet, no one ever says, "I am not a reading person."
Think about it. If you were to burst this unlikely phrase at a meeting at work you wouldn't get murmurs of agreement, or nods of approval. There would no doubt be some in that circle who would wonder about your competency in the work place. "Dude, she can't even read! She just said so!"
It is as if we made a decision, as a society, to value mathematics as less than any other field of study. But more than that we put a limitation on who we are, and what we can achieve by embracing this horrific and limiting phrase, " I AM NOT A MATH PERSON." There is a finality to it. In the totality of our being we ARE NOT FRIENDS WITH NUMBERS. We declare them our enemy, accept this definition of who we are, and glance side-eye at those who proclaim a love for computation.
I discovered later in life that numbers are beautiful. Solving a complex equation takes thought, determination, and skill. It is like untangling a complicated knot. I have always loved solving puzzles, riddles or mysteries, and I never realized that what I really loved what was problem-solving. I don't know if you are aware of this but problem-solving is the heart of arithmetic. Actually, and not to get too deep here, but problem-solving is pretty much at the heart of all things.
Numbers are letters' cousins. They contain meaning within themselves and together can build beautiful stories of their own. These stories might take me longer to discover and internalize but they are no less powerful and beautiful. I just have to look with better eyes.
Keep moving forward,