“I actually have a business. I buy things at Ikea and then stand outside of the supermarket and sell them.”

“Why Ikea?”

“Because its far away from everyone and its not easy for them to get there. SO I buy it and bring it to them.”

“Wow. That’s clever. Can I ask where you’re from?”


This was the conversation I had with a young entrepreneur. He was in 5th grade. This conversation began because I overhead him saying to his friend that he hated school. I was intrigued. The conversation began…

Is there anything in school you DO like?

Physical education. Music. Recess.

Anything else?

No. And I hate math.

Why do you hate math?

It’s boring.

Yeah it is. But what if it isn’t?

What do you mean?

I mean, what if math was exciting?

(Confused look.)

Ok. Imagine you have a teddy bear that you don’t want anymore and I want it. What would you do?

I’d sell it to you.

And then what would you do with your money?

(Another confused look.)

Well, if you used that money to buy more teddy bears and then sold them you could make MORE money.

Yeah, and then I could start a lemonade stand.

A lemonade stand?

lemonade standYeah. I could start selling lemonade. But I would get other people to sell the lemonade and I’d open a bunch of different lemonade stands.

Wow! So you would have a bunch of lemonade salespeople working for you?

Yeah. And then I’d bring on Matteo.

Why Matteo?

Because he’s a good worker. And soon enough, he can run my lemonade stands for me so I can do the things I enjoy doing.

Like what?

Like riding motor bikes.

That sounds like fun.

Yeah, it would be a lot of fun.

And to think, it was all possible because of math.


Your “fun motorbiking” stemmed from your understanding of math.

(Confused look)

You took a small sum of money, which are just numbers, and multiplied them into bigger amounts, which you then multiplied into bigger amounts. You then invested those bigger amounts into bigger things which brought you more money and more joy. Do you like math now?

If math was like this it WOULD be fun.



If math was like that EVERYONE would love it. If math was like this I might not have taken 20 years to start enjoying it. Luckily I did eventually start enjoying math. And my love of math has led me to much better financial freedom. If math was relevant, I have a sneaking suspicion that everyone would be much wiser with their finances. This story should call us as teachers, adults, and current torch holders to take a greater interest in the mathematical and financial education of the next generation.