I am not a math person. Math people will tell you that the world is described in numbers. I am a creative type. To me the world is described in color and texture and line and form and the well-chosen word.
Clearly, God made me to see the world through the lens of creativity. I have always loved to make stuff. Creative efforts satisfy me and feed me. But is it also possible that I was also made with some math ability that for one reason or another, never developed and eventually withered away? Is it possible that if my life had taken a different turn that a quadratic equation would feel as lovely as the color of cinnamon?
My parents were young and blue collar and had three kids in five years. One worked days and the other worked nights. They were busy trying to keep the wheels on. They didn’t have the time, energy or resources to provide the kind of learning opportunities that we are able to provide for Sean.
And, it was a different place and time. In my neighborhood, teaching kids was the job of the nuns, not the parents — even if they did have time. In addition to that, because I was hospitalized off and on throughout elementary school, I missed a lot of school. One day I left school and we were doing addition and when I came back, we were doing long division. And I never caught up. Consequently, I have learned how to avoid math my entire life. My worst nightmare is not that I show up naked in the classroom, it’s that I show up and am expected to convert fractions.
But how might I be different if my parents had had the time to sit down and teach me or what if I never missed out on those fundamental math classes? Maybe I would be an accountant. Or maybe I’d still be bad at math.
At this point, it appears that Sean is an artsy creative type; he seems to be less inclined towards math. But what I really don’t want to do is nurse that assumption and transfer my own math insecurities onto him. I don’t want in any way to send the message to him that math is not his thing. Because it could be.
If in fact, it turns out that math is not his thing, then I want to get on top of that early and make sure he learns how to do it, and at the very least develops an appreciation for it. I don’t want him to be like me and live a life terrified that he will have to do long division in his head.
So tell me oh wise internets, at what age do the right and left brain tendencies emerge? And to what degree do you think nurture and nature impact those tendancies? When will I know if I should hire a math tutor?