I don’t know if my parents expect me to be a rocket scientist or what but I just can’t do higher math. What am I going to do? If I make another D for my grade in math, my parents are going to make me spend another week in my room, grounded for a whole week, Mary thought.
Mary was in her bedroom going over her math books and listening to some soft music on her stereo to smooth out the tensions and impending doom. There was a knock, knock on the bedroom door. “Yes, come in.”
“I see from your report card you made another D in math,” said Mary’s father.
“Well, I’ve been studying hard,” said Mary.
“Well, not hard enough,” said the father. “You’re grounded for a week.”
“What?” said Mary.
The father then closed the bedroom door and walked back down stairs to the living room where Mary’s mother was waiting, sitting on the couch. “I just grounded Mary for a week to her bedroom,” said the father to the mother.
“What are we going to do with Mary making these bad grades?” asked the mother.
“I don’t know, Jennifer,” said the father. “Maybe, this time Mary will straighten up.”
“I hope so, Kurt,” said Jennifer. “I made all A’s when I was in school. I don’t understand the child.”
In the meantime, Mary was languishing in her bedroom feeling hopeless, helpless and despondent. Then an idea popped into her head. She took her math book and went downstairs to the living room where her father and mother were sitting together on the coach.
Wa, ooh! thought Mary. What am I doing here now when I usually get the third degree from those two when they are sitting together on the coach? Well, I better do something now or I will be spending a week grounded in my room. Then the words popped into Mary’s mind even though she’d been calculating it all along, she said, “I elect you to help me with my homework” and handed the math book to her father.
Her parents had her leave the room after the father took the math book. They looked it over for a few minutes.
“Who does she think she is? She elects us,” said the mother. “If she’d only work hard, things would improve. I did it.”
The father’s eyes started to bug out if he didn’t look green flipping through the pages of the book.
“What’s wrong with you, Kurt?” asked the mother.
The father didn’t answer. He looked like a ghost.
“Let me see that book,” said the mother. “When I was a kid…” then stoic she stared into the book. “What’s that?” she said pointing at a figure on the page.
They both looked at each other. They called Mary back into the room.
“We can’t do it. We didn’t get this math when we were in school,” said the father he candidly admitted to Mary. After all, the father and mother both graduated high school before the Russians launched Sputnik. Higher math was not a requirement in the public schools before that.
“Well, does that mean I’m still grounded?” asked Mary.
“Well,” said the father.
“Well?” exclaimed Mary. “If you can’t do the math, what am I to do? Can you get me a tutor? Actually, I’d really like that.”
“No, we can’t afford tutors,” said the father.
“That’s too bad,” said Mary. “I really was looking forward to it.”
“No, you’re not grounded,” said the father.
On that note, Mary took back the math book and went upstairs to her bedroom to study some more, the best she could. I really was looking forward to that tutor, she thought. I really wasn’t trying to put my parents on the spot but what else could I do? I guess my parents are old fashion. I don’t need punishment. I need help.