I was "helping" Lindsey with her math tonight. In reality, I was watching her quickly figure out word problems that left me with my mouth hanging open. I did actually help with one where I could use an algebraic equation to answer, but all the other ones required approaches I could not even guess at.
There was this one problem that I was certain did not have enough information to answer. I won't go into the details of it in case every single person reading this blog can figure out the answer in 10 seconds or less--that kind of upstaging I couldn't enjoy. But I read this problem, realized that there was no way on earth I could ever figure out the answer and was about to tell her so when she asked me to check her work. She explained her answer and I could not believe how clearly she had seen the problem and how quickly she had figured out how to answer it. I didn't think there even WAS an answer, I thought the whole thing was a farce. But when she explained her reasoning to me there was no doubt she was right and it all seemed so incredibly simple.
In fourth grade, Lindsey struggled with math. She set a goal that year that in 5th grade she would make the advanced math class. All summer she asked me to print out math worksheets so she could practice, and darned if she didn't succeed in meeting her goal. She has gotten better and better at math ever since she realized that if she works hard enough she can meet any goal she chooses to set for herself. This is an invaluable life lesson and one that can't be taught except through experience, and I am so happy she has learned this at such an early age.
Oh, and in case you were wondering...I couldn't have figured this problem out even before the brain radiation, so I will not be playing that card tonight. (But I did consider it.)