# I’m not planning to be a mathematician!

**Does your child ask you why they need to work so hard at math if they are not planning to be a mathematician?** How do you answer your child?

We get asked that a lot, sad to say by girls, more than by boys. Here’s how the discussion goes. Share yours in the Comment section below.

**Student:** “Why do I need to study so much math? I’m not planning to be a mathematician when I grow up.”

**Instructor:** So what are you planning to be when you grow up?

**Student:** I don’t know, but definitely not a mathematician.

**Instructor:**: Especially because you don’t know, you’d better keep working on your math.

**Student:**: Why?

**Instructor:** Because you want to leave your options open. What if you decide to be an Olympic gymnast, an entrepreneur, a football coach, a neurosurgeon, a pre-school teacher, a bounty-digger, a chef, a TV producer – you can bet your money they rely on math everyday.

**Student:** But you can just hire someone to do the math.

**Instructor:** And that’s what many people do. That’s why, if you know math, you’ll always have a job.

Even an actress, like Danica McKellar (The Wonder Years) needs math. If you have a middle-school daughter, give her Danica’s book: Math Doesn’t Suck: How to Survive Middle School Math Without Losing Your Mind or Breaking a Nail. It is sprinkled with testimonials of her friends, how they felt about math, what their careers are now, and how important math is in their work.

*“We’ve seen girls perform similarly [to boys], but what we have seen also is that in high school, when we arrive and give them surveys about how they feel about math . . . they score worse. They feel more frustrated and anxious than boys,’’ *said Ivon Arroyo, a research scientist at the University of Massachusetts Amherst who is working on the software being tested at Turners Falls, called Wayang Outpost.

*“That may make girls not persevere as much in the harder problems.’’*

**Encourage your daughters to do well in math so they really can be anything they want to me. ** And don’t forget, share with us how you answer your child when he/she asks you why they need math.