Saturday, January 31, 2015

Ruby Gets An F

It was quiet in the front room. Ruby and Sadie and their dad, Mike, were with us for the weekend and they'd all been in their dad's room watching a video on his computer. I was sitting in my chair in the front room, reading. Ruby wandered into the front room and picked up a book of puzzles that Joe and I had bought for the girls. Ruby is a kid that likes to exercise her brain. She brought the book over to me, sat down beside me, and asked if I'd do puzzles with her. I told her that I loved puzzles too and that I'd love to spend some time puzzling with her.

We did mazes.

We did word searches.

We did pick out the word that doesn't fit.

We did find the difference between two pictures.

Then Ruby chose one that looked very difficult. It was a puzzle that had a picture of a Rubik's cube kind  of structure with the top right corner missing. Then there were  all sorts of pieces to look at to figure which one fit into the space on the cube. There were at least 10 possible choices. Ruby, sitting beside me, was getting a bit tired, I think her puzzler was sore, and she glanced at the page and said. "F, it's F." I looked at it, saw that it couldn't be F and said, "Ruby, you've got to really look at all the pieces and then look at the pattern on the cube and see which will fit.

"F, it's F."

"You ought not to rush. The fun of these puzzles is puzzling out the answer, taking time to check the options and find the right one."

"F, it's F."

"OK, it time to check the back of the book and see the answer, I won't let you see the answer, I'll just show you that it's not F and then you can look at other pieces."

"You can check the back of the book, but it's F."

I flipped to the back of the book. F, it's F.

How the hell did she get F from just a brief glance at the missing piece and all the options provided? That was one question. The other was, how was I going to tell her it's F? Do I have to tell her it's F, can't we just move to another puzzle?

"OK Ruby, it's F."

"I know," she said, "Sometimes a puzzle only looks hard, you have to see if it actually is hard first."


I think I do that in my life. I look at things and think they are hard, so they are. I need to find out if they actually are hard before putting myself through hours of work looking at all the options when it's just freaking obvious that the answer is ...



Anonymous said...

Out of the mouth of babes . . .

Maggie said...

This is lovely. I love what you've learned from this.

And I'm reminded of a similar interaction when I was a parent of someone Ruby's age.

My learning -- which I struggle, still, to learn and relearn -- is how much I lean on my 'position'.

You know, "I'm the grown-up, she's the child, obviously my first reaction is better than hers." Or, as happens most often for me now, "I'm the professional, he's the novice, therefore I can teach him the 'right' way to do this."

It's insidious, this notion that we know, in any given interaction, which of us is more likely to be 'right' because of age, education, standing, or even privilege.

Still learning.

Thanks for this lovely look at another opportunity for that. Thanks, too, for acknowledging she was right (I still recall painfully a time I was so invested in my position that I insisted both the child and the answerkey were wrong. *sigh*)


CapriUni said...

Okay, here's a 3rd question: Why did you think the question was hard?

My guess: 1 reason is the long list of answers to choose from.

Mikayla said...

I, as a younger adult, find that I tend to make things harder on myself. Sometimes it may stop me from trying to solve the issue at hand. It also creates more stress than needed. This blog shows me that my "inner child" can be called on to help me when needed.

Anonymous said...


You go, Ruby. :)

-- Littlewolf

Anonymous said...

I think thats amazing! If only everyone else could look at life the same way! Ruby will go on to do great things. I know in my life I stress about stuff and make it more difficult then it has to be. I look at everything thats wrong in the situation rather then what it right. This is also a great way to look at how we view other people. We are quick to judge what is not like the rest and put a label on someone instead of simpling saying they are a person.