Cait was on her fourth hour of homework when she looked over at me wearily and said, Tell me something profound, Mom. She shoved her geometry book aside in protest, propped herself up on her elbows and said, “All these math problems I’m doing are so meaningless. Who cares?
Slogging through my own pile of homework, her question jolted me upright. But I quickly regrouped, I knew exactly what she was asking:
- Tell me something that matters.
- Then tell me why I should care.
- Then put it into some useful, meaningful context, so I can relate. So it isn’t just more noise.
In my daughter’s case, sadly, her teacher believes he doesn’t have the luxury of time to offer real-life context for why it might be useful to know that the sum of the squares of two sides of a right triangle is equal to the square of the hypotenuse.
I say sadly, because that’s exactly what’s needed to make geometry memorable and relevant; to make it matter. Because we all know that’s the difference between motivating kids to get excited about learning and discovering vs memorizing to pass a test and then promptly forgetting.
So where am I going with this? Nope, not a rant about our broken educational system. Not even a rant about how the non-stop distractions and interruptions of technology and media have turned our kids’ attention spans into the size of a gnat’s.
If you’ve been a regular reader, perhaps you’ve noticed that, for me, seeking the profound is a deep spiritual need. Because to reside within what’s profound means to be “awake.” And being awake means being able to recognize and appreciate the stuff that really matters, and to more quickly throw off the stuff that doesn’t. It’s the gyroscope and compass that I count on to keep me pointed in the right direction through life.
In wanting to be told something profound, Cait told me something profound. I got to know that one of my most cherished values has been internalized by my daughter. And that’s a good day.
Where would you take the conversation if asked, Tell me something profound.