Thursday, December 22, 2011

Refusing to Take My Own Advice

I lectured my son for quite a while yesterday evening about math. It was actually just a repeat of the same old lecture he's heard from me before. (It's amazing how parents always think that if we say something over and over at a higher decibel every time, then our kids will finally get it...)

Here's the lecture, in all it's glory:
"You have to take the time to write every single step of a math problem, even if you can do it in your head. For one thing, your teachers need to see your work - but more importantly, if you take the time to carefully write every step in the process, you won't be wasting your time and you are much more likely to get the right answer than if you just do the work in your head."

Nice lecture, right? You see - my son is rather gifted at math but he doesn't enjoy it. As a consequence, he's always trying to rush through his work and skip steps because he's able to do a LOT in his head. But that's a bad long-term plan because he sometimes makes silly mistakes when he does that and has to re-do everything. Plus, he often KNOWS how to do a math problem but doesn't know how he knows it. It's as if he can just look at some math problems and know the answer. But someday he'll be doing calculus and he needs to understand the process. (Or so I've heard. I have no personal knowledge to confirm that claim because I never got past algebra.)

To sum up, I'm telling him: take your time, be patient, make sure you carefully document each step and just generally do your best work.

In the meantime, I'm whining internally to myself about how I want to be a successful author but I'm not taking the time to write every day and do all the other little steps it will take for me to create success. It's as if I just want it to fall into my lap - not unlike my third grader who just wants the math to go away quickly without taking the effort to learn it.

It shouldn't be that hard for me. When I do write every day, I am happy and fulfilled. So why wouldn't I be writing?

I don't want to spend the rest of my life in an office, putting up with people who are nice but insanely power-hungry or completely apathetic to the point where I have to do their jobs for them if I have any hope at all of making a difference in my tiny little niche. So...why wouldn't I be working hard every day to create a career for myself that will free me from this?

It's time for me to take my own advice: take every single step that is required to accomplish my goals, do my best work, stop wasting my time with whining and make sure I avoid the people who are bad influences in my life.

I'm full of wise, motherly advice. My kids may or may not follow it, but I will.


Megan Willome said...

My son is the same way. Guess what? It's only a big deal in the lower grades. Now in algebra 2, he just makes up the showing work part and still does the majority in his head (and using a fancy calculator that they're assigned).

JennInAustin said...

So good to hear!