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I read an article on parenting at some point this year which suggested in order to really understand your child, parents should pay attention to what makes your son or daughter light up. I THINK the point was to get to know your child and encourage the sorts of things they organically love, though frankly I’m not sure now.
But I love the idea of paying attention to the activities that your kid gravitates towards; to help him find his bliss.
When I was a child, what lit me up was reading. I loooooooooooved to read. Still do, actually. And I suppose I had hoped that O would be like me – the kind of kid who lit up when he realized the magic of reading, that there were words EVERYWHERE.
That’s not him.
Owen loves math the way I love to read. To him, there’s magic in numbers, how they add up and divide and group. I swear he thinks in math, in addition and subtraction, and he’ll be dozing off to sleep at night where he’ll murmur something like, Mom, did you know that if you add an even to an even you’ll get an even?
For someone who hates math like I do*, it’s kind of torturous, and I confess that I had to work through disappointment that I have a child that is wholly different than me.
But it’s him. That’s who he is, at least right now. And I love how much it makes him happy.
And it’s not like he’s into going to McDonald’s or beating up other kids or war games or anything. Math is a pretty good activity, all things considered.
So this weekend, we’re at Jeff’s office party, and O announces to one of his coworkers: I am really good at math. Go ahead and quiz me!
Jeff’s coworker, bless him, asked some simple math questions. And O took off with them, adding more of his own, talking about negative numbers and how his dad was showing him division, too. And I sat there, bemused, both proud and embarrassed of how much he knows in the first freaking grade.
Because I’m pretty sure he can add better than me.
And then he said, Do you think I’m going to be a mathematician when I grow up? Because I think I’m going to be a mathematician when I grow up.
Yes, kiddo. You do that.
*Yes, I am a CPA who hates math. I understand the irony of that statement far more than words can convey.