From day one our children are measured. We know their heights, weights, and head circumferences, for that matter. At each check-up these measurements are again taken. With data in hand we can look back at their first several years and marvel at the incredibly fast rate of physical development. But it doesn’t stop there. Emotional, social, and intellectual milestones are also marked. Many are the ways with which to measure these factors. Each recording has its part. I’m not suggesting that numbers, data, or even test scores should be the focus – far from it. Collectively, however, these numbers help to tell a story. I look at my now teenage daughters who are no longer growing in height and realize that they are still growing ... in much more broad and significant matters. It’s amazing to watch their personalities develop and individual lives unfold. I awe also, even worry, at how important numbers are to them. These seemingly innocuous digits have been a driving force, for better or worse, for my girls that have helped them to strive for more and to achieve. The oldest was just named Science Sterling Scholar in her senior class. Another participates in a math and science organization that designs robots to competitively complete assigned tasks. Still yet, the other pushes herself harder and faster in distance running. All three excel in math and are enrolled in engineering courses. Interesting, isn’t it, that each of these activities and accomplishments are heavily laden in numbers. I watch my girls and wonder how it is that numbers have become so important to them and chuckle as I realize they always have been. They naturally were drawn to the allure of new information and their teachers and I complied in providing them with more. Society as a whole, I think, has the tendency to get caught up in numbers. One rainy day my husband was painting our home’s interior. The children were all young, perhaps ranging in ages from three to six years old. To keep them out of Dad’s way I bundled them up and we headed outdoors. The girls lined up, like ducklings behind me, all dressed in satiny pink coats. Toes were covered in vividly colored plastic galoshes. We splashed and sloshed our way down the road. I took along with us a clipboard, paper, pencil, and ruler. We searched everywhere for earthworms of all sizes. So heavy was the rain and prolific were the worms that the girls screeched in delight as we encountered one worm after the other. From underneath bright yellow umbrellas the girls carefully measured each worm’s length then let them free. I dutifully recorded the lengths shouted out to me. We graphed the data and found the median length. They were delighted to share the results with Dad who was also astonished at the incredible lengths some of the worms had grown to. It was a glorious time of counting, adventure, and discovery. The numbers that rainy day tell a story. But we mustn’t remain focused solely on the data. There’s more story there than mere numbers can reveal. The girls intellects grew, their interests broadened, and memories were made. We, quite simply put, bonded that day and grew in ways immeasurable. This experience was but one of many stepping stones that helped my girls become who they now are. And while recording their growth is still of interest to me, numbers and all, I much rather enjoy their company and spending with them quality time. My wish is that we all will find opportunities to grow together in good health and love.