I like numbers. No surprise — would say the ones who personally know me. There was this book I loved when I was a child, maybe 4 or 5 years old. “Math for cavemen” (Matematica per cavernicoli, the original Italian title), kinda “math for dummies” just written for primary school kids.

Jesus, Mozart, and me

The legend goes that little Jesus was talking like an adult at age one, and that Mozart began composing when he was just five. According to my own mother’s accounts of my childhood, I was reading at three, playing chess at four, doing advanced math at five. As a consequence, I never studied in all my school career — from primary to the end of high school. No need, I already knew it all.

Most of all, I hated multiplication tables. They are made for idiots, who do not know how to actually do a multiplication. My teacher had a different idea. I always suspected she was one of those people who needed to learn tables by heart, since she was not able to calculate things by herself. However, the school system — at least the Italian one — is fit for the below-average-kid. And my skills were much less appreciated than the ability of memorizing sequences of numbers without understanding.

Flowers, trees, and clouds

So I guess that teaching me math as a pre-school child affected my life in the opposite direction than expected. Or maybe not. I still like numbers. Or, to say for how it truly is, I like relations, patterns, logic connections. Numbers are in the middle of all of this just by chance. When I had to explain math to some kid, I always remove numbers, and substitute them with flowers, trees, clouds. I understand it better like that:

School system and mediocre teachers

So, sometimes I think that the day I will have a child, I will not teach her/him how to read, to write, to do math or to play chess, when they are still toddlers, or in kindergarten age. However, I think now the problem it was not me. The school system was done for illiterate kids, maybe not too smart either. So, I guess, the best thing will rather choose carefully the school system my children will attend, rather than keeping them below their potential — in order to be better suited for school and mediocre teachers.

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