Patterns, odd and even

Reid has been waking up early for the last while. Not earlier than me but earlier than I want to be out of my cocoon of blankets and before I want to think of more than the implications of the first sportscast of the day or the Frugalista’s latest report. One morning Reid said that she wanted to count and wanted my help. My assistance hasn’t been required for Reid to count in English in more than a year but it was early and so I played along. Reid said “1″ and pointed at me and I supplied “2″ and then she said “3″ and signalled me. We continued like this for a few more numbers and then Reid asked if I knew that it was a “patteren”. I had noticed the pattern, I said, and that she’d been saying the odd numbers and me the even ones. Reid asked the difference and I said that even numbers were divisible by 2. She nodded and said, “There are two sets of 2 in 4,” before I’d even decided how to explain “divisible” to her. I’m in such trouble if Reid grasps math concepts so much better than me.

But Malcolm Gladwell, in Outliers, taught me that math success is a matter of hard work not talent. There’s still hope for me, if I work hard enough. Of course, he also said that 10,000 hours are required to master something. Maybe Reid is the only one for whom there is real hope.

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