My daughter was doing her math homework and asked me “does six plus eight equal twelve?” I said, “No, try again”.
She started to whimper and said, “Does six plus eight equal eleven?” I calmly and encouragingly said, “No, honey, use a number line. You can do it. Try again.”
Then the whimper escaladed into crying, got louder and finally she said defeated, “does it equal fourteen?” I said, “Yes, that’s right! You did it.”
She replied (and frankly, I’m guessing here since the hysteria made it difficult to make out all the words) “But six plus eight can’t be fourteen!!” I said “But it does!! You were right!”
“It can’t be fourteen!!!” She said. “But it is. You did it. You did a good job!” I said.
She was inconsolable. Crocodile tears were running down her cheeks as her eyes bounced back and forth trying to take in the information I had just given her. She continued to insist that six plus eight couldn’t be fourteen. Considering her response I thought to myself “six plus eight is still fourteen, right?” When I sure I was still right I said “but it is fourteen, honey. Why do you keep saying it can’t be fourteen?”
Falling back into her chair with the tears of confusion in her eyes she loudly mutters “BUT WE HAVEN’T LEARNED 14 YET!! Apparently in her mind the answers to the math questions can only be numbers she had previously learned in school. She hadn’t learned the number 14 yet so it simply just did not exist in her world. It couldn’t be 14 because they hadn’t gotten to that chapter yet.
I said, “But it is…six plus eight is fourteen. The answer can still be fourteen even if you haven’t gotten to that chapter yet.” “It can’t be…it has to be 13 or 12”, she said. It was just unfathomable to her that the answer was 14.
It must be nice to be able to ignore the obvious right answers in life because you haven’t covered that chapter yet. There are so many times in life when ignoring the obvious answer seems like the best option. I can’t help but worry about how she’ll handle the first time a boy breaks her heart, or the first time she gets turned down for the job she’s always wanted. I hope she handles it better than she did her math facts. Maybe some things are worth crying over though….even just a few tears. Think of how happy she’s be next week when six plus eight does equal fourteen.
I guess I can’t blame her though. How many times in life do we lose it because we think that whatever crappy thing that’s happening to us….shouldn’t be happening to us? Maybe God has a reason for it…..he just hasn’t covered that chapter for us yet.