Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Drama of Algebra

Today was a typical, if rainy, day at our house.  M7 and S9 moved quickly through their work.  H12 stalled in every way possible.  She loves to read and to write.  Everything else requires monitoring, prodding and, sometimes, bullying.  Algebra was where we got hung up today.  It often is.  The drama that has been inspired by math in our home is impressive. 

Today's drama resulted in whining, crying, melting down, stomping from the room and flopping into bed.  Thankfully, today, it was H12 that put on the show.  After I took a deep breath, I went upstairs to talk with H12 about how she expected the rest of her day would go.  We were able to engage in an impromptu review of her logic lessons by identifying numerous fallacies in her many passionate and varied arguments for why math is unnecessary and why her behavior should be excused.  After several minutes with no progress, I decided to take a break and regroup. 

I completed a couple of jobs then went back to check on H12.  I found her where I'd left her, in bed staring at the ceiling.  I asked if she was planning to do this all day.  She replied, "No, now I'm just being difficult."  All I could do was laugh as I walked away.  I'm so thankful that I've got a daughter who is able to recognize her stubborn choices and own up to them. It didn't take long before H12 climbed out of bed and we finished her math lesson.

Too often, the behavior that I find most difficult in my children is a reflection of my own behavior or attitudes.  How often do I choose a course of action and stick to it even when I know there is absolutely no benefit in it?  How often to I choose stubborn over logical?  How often do I not even recognize that I've made the choice?

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