I appeal to all readers of my blog for their recollections of challenges they encountered in their early learning of mathematics. Such stories provide a fascinating insight into the psychology of mathematical thinking and frequently lead to surprisingly deep mathematics. One example of what I am looking for:

A girl aged 6 easily solved “put a number in the box” problems of the type 7 + [ ] = 12, by counting how many 1’s she had to add to 7 in order to get 12 but struggled with [ ] + 6 = 11, because she did not know where to start. Worse, she felt for years that she could not communicate her difficulty to adults.

This example is one of many from my forthcoming book “Shadows of the Truth: Metamathematics of Elementary Mathematics”,

Please send your stories at borovik@manchester.ac.uk. Please also give
me the following details:

  1. Your age when a particular episode happened.
  2. Your gender.
  3. What was the language of mathematical instruction? Was it different
    from your mother tongue?
  4. What is the level of mathematical education that you have eventually
    got? Do you teach mathematics?

My warmest thanks! – Alexandre Borovik