‘I totally hate Mathematics!’ Nine year old me shrieked, throwing my school bag on one the couches in the sitting room. My mother stood in front of me, hands akimbo laughing.
‘You hate mathematics ? What did you say you want to become in future again?’
‘I will do it without mathematics!’ I raised my chin in defiance. I had to show mathematics that I did not need it anywhere around me. Everybody was making it feel too important, especially WAEC and NECO.
‘Don’t say you hate mathematics, or you may never want to know it.’
I almost rolled my eyes at my mum but the thought sunk in. I hate guava and I didn’t even want to know what it tastes like (tasted it now, I still hold on to the dislike).
‘…But I can’t seem to get anything right and I have this homework that I plan to return tomorrow empty.’
My mother’s forehead creased as she frowned.
‘You don’t miss your homework. This must be serious then. I’ll help you solve a little and then you’d do the rest on your own. Good?’
I nodded my head.
My scores in my mathematics homework always made me high five my mum after then. I remember when classmates would ask how I solved the questions they found tough, my answer was always the same, “My mummy is a mathematician.” Every time after school, she gave me an example and I solved through. I was becoming interested in mathematics, not because I had begun to find it easier but because my mother had somehow convinced me that I liked mathematics. I would later cry, roll on the floor of that same sitting room some 3 years later because I couldn’t solve the problems in my mathematics homework… again.
I was having my first chat with this wonderful Facebook friend I just acquired and somehow, mathematics had crept its way into the discussion. I remember saying with all truth (I’m very bad at telling lies), ‘I like mathematics a lot. I do not know it very much but I like it.’ He was surprised. He had told me it was not the answer he had expected. People who didn’t know mathematics hated it. I remember all the times I was able to solve any Math problem and how I jubilated my victory with a mock dance and was content throughout that week. I remember how I jumped up and down on the street after my mother phoned to tell me that I had ‘made’ my papers, including mathematics. My carrying a mathematics text book everywhere I went, even when I was not reading it directly, had paid off!
Life is a lot like my journey with mathematics. The more you hate something, without first trying to know it, the more you become ignorant of it and the many possibilities it might hold. Like how when you hate a person, you see no good only BUTs everywhere and how when you love someone you see all the EXCLAMATIONS in their ‘good deeds’. Treat life like my new found love for mathematics and see it love you right back !