Yesterday, my wife sent me a great quote from Neil deGrasse Tyson. The above image is not the same one she sent me because I couldn’t find the source for that image so I used a different one. The quote is about people saying they are just not good at math.
Many people in my life have uttered a similar phrase. Sadly, many of those people are women who were brought up to believe they weren’t good at math. That’s not at all true. You may not be good at math but it’s not because you were predisposed to be awful at it. Yes, you may never be as smart as Neil deGrasse Tyson or Matt Damon’s character in, Good Will Hunting, but there is no reason you can’t solve high school and college math.
One of my goals for raising both of my children is to instill in them the idea that there is no, “I’m just not good enough,” mentality that many people create for themselves. People aren’t good at a subject because they never received the proper training, encouragement, and/or they didn’t give the proper amount of effort. Sometime one of those three key areas were missing but for most people it was a combination. Learning something comes down to three things: instruction, help, and practice. This will be a future blog post.
I’m not a math genius, but I wouldn’t say I don’t do math because like Tyson states in the above picture. If I told you couldn’t read you’d think I was an idiot. Why is math any different? I know a lot of people who completely write someone off when proclaim they don’t like reading or don’t read books. I’m one of those people. If that’s true then it should work the other way around. I should think the same way about people who say they don’t do math.
Back to my kids.
One of my life goals is to instill a sense of purpose in my children about why they should take an interest in math. A lot of people grew up not understanding why they were learning math. Many felt it was something they’d never use in the future. I was one of those kids. Adults in my life would tell me, “I never use calculus in my adult life.” That doesn’t mean that math isn’t important. You may never use linear equations just like you may never get the opportunity to quote Meville or Hemingway.
You learn both of these things because they make you a more complete person.
Also, if you go to school and get really good at math, then there are a lot of jobs out there for people with high level math skills. There are many people using math every day. Not surprisingly, their making a lot of money and having fun.
Photo Credit: Lifehack Quotes