Albert Einstein’s uncle Jakob was a great influence for Einstein as a little boy. It was during this time that Jakob gave little Einstein books about algebra and geometry and called algebra “a merry science”.

Even more entertaining for a child, Jakob described algebra as hunting a little animal. You are trying to discover the name of the animal and you start by simply calling it “x”. You catch the animal by discovering it’s true name.

By using storytelling, Einstein’s uncle Jakob was able to create a personal mythology for Einstein in which numbers were animals and problem solving was an adventure, a hunt. It made learning fun.

Einstein went on to use similar models to explain his theories, such as trains, ships, and elevators.

What subjects in your child’s life could use a personal mythology boost? What stories could you tell to help your child develop a productive personal mythology?

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