Saturday, February 22, 2014

Bonding Over Triangles


Getting my kids to like each other is no easy task. I'll tell my son, "Say at least one nice thing to your sister." And instead of a compliment, he'll make an observation: "Your shirt is red...you finished that cheesburger...you're in choir."

Son, that's not what I meant. Try again.

Then he'll ask me to give options of nice things to say. And to help him out, to help him stay within the coming from an almost-14-year-old believability bracket, I'll make a few vague suggestions and have him pick his favorite:

1. You don't wear too much makeup.
2. You drove home safely today.
3. You did good on your last vocab quiz.

(See how I threw in a little of what I EXPECT from her? A little trick of mine.)

But I'm sensing a change between my two teens. A real small, barely-even-there change. It seems as if a mutual respect and borderline admiration for each other is brewing. All thanks to..... math being HARD.

What? I can't believe I just complimented math. (See previous post.) But when it comes to the peace level of my home, I'll make exceptions.

You see, my 11th grade daughter is now simultaneously taking Algebra 2 and Geometry. Ew. And because she now realizes that waiting until the last month of the semester to get a grip on her grades is a very bad idea, she texted me: "I need a tutor in Geometry."

I wish I could say I immediately took care of things. But where to go? Who to call? How much is this going to cost? What if the tutor's a weirdo? So I stalled the first week, thinking, "Well, maybe it was just an off day and now she totally gets it."

But then she asked for a tutor AGAIN the following week. So I had an idea. Although it didn't fix the what if he's a weirdo? problem, my idea was very inexpensive and logistically-easy, and I put my 8th grade, Geometry-brained son straight to work.

Oh no, what was I thinking? This idea could totally turn on me. It could go either way! So I cleared off the kitchen table all nicey nice - lit a candle even - and sat on my couch and prayed while the tutoring session began:

Oh Lord, please help this to work! You know me and how I loathe doing stuff like finding professional tutors. (Not that it's all about me.) Just please help them be nice to each other. Help my daughter receive what she's being taught. Prevent them from commenting on each other's bad breath. And don't let a simple fart ruin the moment. AMEN. 

And guess what? My daughter texted me the next day: "I just helped 70% of my class figure out how to find the length of sides of triangles because our teacher explained it super lame."

It worked! The whole thing went down splendidly. My son's the Geometry Whisperer! But even more amazing, my daughter actually LET him whisper to her.

What could possibly be next? "The color red looks amazing on you?" "Your choir concert was awesome?" I highly doubt it. But I also doubted that God could use something as horrendous as math to make my teens kind-of-sort-of like each other a little more. So stay tuned!