ETC: Proofs and their positive effect


Math was like being in a country without a translator.


That’s an interesting word. It reminds me of math. I hated math – especially in high school. Math made me feel unsuccessful. No one likes feeling unsuccessful. Sitting in math class was like sitting in a foreign country without a translator.

The terms, the geometic proofs, the parallelograms, the theorems.

Proofs were my ultimate mathematic downfall - but they taught me a lesson

Does it still haunt me? Yes! At the end of the month when I hit the total button on my calculator – I always hope it’s right. Sometimes I’ll go back and check. Good for me that I married an accountant!

The only good part about math was that it helped if we brought Mr. Meade chocolate chip cookies. I’m not saying it improved my GPA, but it made him happy and when he was happy we could distract him more, talk about sports and THEN get around to the math.

My first of two high school cheating experiences was in his math class because I did not trust myself to memorize the theorems for a test. What I did learn was that it was better to have struggled and barely passed than to feel guilty knowing that I had chosen to weaken my integrity.

Maybe math wasn’t such a bad thing after all.

(I wrote this post using a technique author Ray Bradbury used many times called “word association.” You pick a random word – I opened the dictionary, closed my eyes and pointed to a word – then write about whatever comes to mind for 5 or 10 minutes. You should try it!)

Just wondering: Do you have a special “association” with certain words in your life? Tell me!


2 thoughts on “ETC: Proofs and their positive effect

  1. Neat technique – am gonna have to try it – would be great with getting kids to write as well. I, well, struggled with math as well as a kid. Actually, I liked it a lot as a little kid … until they started timing how fast we completed the problems … and then, too much pressure for me at the time. Sigh. But one of my elementary school principals offered a trip to the ice cream joint if I memorized those times tables … the eights were hardest .. but I did it with help and encouragement and that carrot of an ice cream before me … !


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