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Too Many Steps

“That’s too many steps, Mr. Hasan,” Daniel said.

This complaint occurs regularly. After four things, someone will speak out. Too many numbers. Too many variables. Too many equations. Too many steps. It’s as if math is the only subject that requires them to remember things. Or maybe the only subject where it’s reasonable to complain.

But what about how to cook a pie? How to administer CPR. How to run a play in football. How to defend in a zone in basketball. Too many colors to paint.  Too many lines in a play. Too many measures. Too many notes.

I’ve pushed back this way before. It does help. So following a recipe and changing a transmission are now my go-to responses. The first time I used it, I actually heard two boys in the room go, “Oh yeah…”

I look at Daniel.

“Ok,” I say. “Imagine that you are changing a transmission…” 

And I throw out a list of steps you might have to follow. Somewhere in my steps there is “grab a screwdriver”.

“A screwdriver?” Daniel cries out in mock surprise. “Oh Mr. Hasan, now we know you’ve never changed a transmission!”

Busted. I should have replied, “Because there’s too many steps!”