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First Friday Message

"NEW Math"

In my mother’s house, “homework time” was a time to limit distractions and focus on the work at hand. I had a fairly typical work desk in my room and a big lamp with a metal cover that would overheat from the bulb and burn your hand if you weren’t paying attention.

Mom would customarily come and check on my progress and if I ever got stumped, she’d lean in over my shoulder to help me work through the problem. She was always helpful, but I really didn’t like when she helped...especially with my math homework. Mom would always complain about the “new” math that I was being taught and by 5th or 6th grade, she said she was DONE with helping me with my math homework.

Quietly, I had lots of little snide remarks in my head about how my math couldn’t be any different from her math. 

I swore that I’d never repeat any such craziness to my child until I did the EXACT SAME THING a few months ago while working with my daughter on long division. My version of it took 3-4 steps while her version of the same problem used up nearly half a page.

Crazy NEW math…

Regardless of how determined I was to get the work done without her help, I was intensely focused on doing the work without flaw. I’ve always wanted to make her proud of me and my academic accomplishments and I’ve seen that trait trickle down to my daughter. My wife and I celebrate (to excess!) every one of her “A’s” and she beams with pride as we do.

Watching my daughter succeed in school, I can’t help but to think back to the foundation of excellence that was ultimately created by my mother. For the majority of her life, she’s lived with less so she can give more and she created a home environment that was supportive and protective.

As we approach Mother’s Day this month, I celebrate all of the moms who have helped us navigate through new math, sports league schedules, runny noses, and more importantly, the moms who provide and preside over safe and secure homes for children to flourish. I also celebrate and lift up the mothers who are no longer with us and the families who mourn their loss.

Happy Mother’s Day to the moms out there! Thank you for lighting the way.

Until next time…

Kevin Bolding, President & CEO
YMCA of Central Florida

The Y. For a better us.®