Not all my kids rub their hands together like Allie, but neither are they grumbling and rolling their eyes, although it's always possible some do the math out of obedience like I did. Regardless, I believe that most of my mathematicians have a different perspective of contextual problems than I. In fact, I would describe them as fearless, which certainly goes hand and hand with the three Ps.
What contributes to this fearless attitude that was so foreign to me all those years ago? Reflecting on how math instruction has changed within my room over the past five or six years, the following factors are worth pointing out. Problem solving does not take place in isolation. Neither does problem solving equal one right way or require the use of a mysterious rule that must be memorized and followed. "Solve it in a way that makes sense to you." Differing paths to a solution are not only encouraged but highlighted and strategically used to the benefit of everyone. With these things in place, I believe there are fewer reasons to be intimidated like I was.
While I sense their fearlessness, I also want to be more aware of how I can intentionally instill patience, perseverance, and a positive attitude into my math instruction. Those are skills that can be taught, and I need to look for ways to highlight and teach what each one looks and feels like when it comes to math problems. If I do, Allie should be rubbing those hands together long after she leaves my classroom.