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Monday, January 22, 2007

Mum is always right!

Boys like to be involved in gadgets. A boy came in for a lesson last week asking our opinion about speed in miles per hour and the accuracy of his mother’s `Sat Nav’ system.

He explained that the speed on the family’s `Sat Nav’ system was a little faster than the actual speed shown by the family car. From the heated faces, and the remarks flying around, it seems that the boy had made a remark about his mother’s driving. He was not concerned that he was being ferried to his lesson in a big and beautiful car. He simply thought that his mother could have set the cruise control to two miles an hour faster.

The discussion, as far as outsiders could understand, revolved around the fact that while cruise control had been set to 50 miles per hour, the satellite navigation system showed the car travelling at 52 miles per hour.

The mother’s case was that the two of the overhead `Distance between Two Points’ camera systems would have tracked her digitally – and therefore accurately – so she needed to err on the side of safety.

The boy’s case was that his mother should have trusted the `Sat Nav’ gadget more than the cruise control on the very expensive vehicle. I understood that one of the arguments was that the technology used in the `gadget’ was used in space flights – and therefore needed therefore to be set up correctly.

We were asked to behave as judge and jury.

Was this `discussion’ really about speed and accuracy or did it escalate into a battle of wills? The mum was under pressure on a journey that would have taken a much shorter time – but for the presence of the cameras. The boy was simply a little tired from a full day at school. Mum was on a mission- to deliver her child safely to the lesson. The boy was on different tack – he wanted recognition of his ability to conduct an argument where he felt he was in full possession of the facts.

We took the easy way out. We offered mum a cup of tea before she went off shopping. We gave `our pupil’ a soft drink and asked him if he would like to do some `Speed Time and Distance’ questions.

Neither party mentioned speed to each other after the lesson. In any case mum had decided to go home on a different route. The diplomacy of a mother! What lengths mums have to go to maintain the peace and quiet! I wonder if she muttered very quietly: `Next time I will let him walk.”

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