There are many benefits to children understanding how they are smart. As I’ve often written about and taught, smart is a power word. All children want to know they are smart. It empowers them to be more optimistic about school and to take it more seriously. But there is so much more.
Children who know how they are smart know how they can serve. How they can say thank you. How they can bless others.
On Saturday night I experienced a beautiful example of this. My host and hostess were celebrating their 51st wedding anniversary and four of their grandchildren were with us. Their grandmother asked each to play the piano as a gift to her.
No one complained. Some of the girls asked what piece she’d like to hear. Some played their favorite song. Each played beautifully. The sisters listened to each other respectfully.
It was a great night. Each girl was affirmed and their grandparents were loved.
Make sure your children know how they are smart. Raise them to serve and add joy to people’s lives through their smarts. Everyone benefits.
On Saturday night, I observed something beautiful. Picture this. Four teenagers, their parents, and their three grandparents were all in the living room. A friend and I were also there.
Our conversation went here and there and it was truly enjoyable and stimulating. Asking, answering, talking, listening, laughing, respecting.
The oldest teen, who just finished her freshman year in college, spoke up. She respectfully stated her opinion about something and was able to back it up with reasons that were solid to her.
No pushback. No disagreements. No shock expressed by anyone. Her sisters didn’t disrespect her. No adult made her feel bad or stupid. She hadn’t been either.
I imagine at least some of the adults in the room were concerned about her opinion or her reasons for her opinion, but they didn’t argue or negate her. No one wrung their hands worried. There were no sideways glances. None of us were plotting, immediately thinking about how we could get her to change her mind. That wouldn’t have been the place to do it.
This summer, how many times have your children already whined, “I’m so bored!!” Dr. Kathy suggests a very practical solution that might work in your home. She also addresses the reality that children need to learn to live with boredom, responding to it in healthy ways rather than always trying to avoid it. It’s a fact of life. Listen all the way to the end for another golden nugget. Then, please share it on your social networks.
Have you read my book How Am I Smart? A Parent’s Guide to Multiple Intelligences? Have you heard me speak on this topic?
Moody Publishers has asked me to refresh the book. I’ll be updating illustrations, adding ideas about how technology and intelligences interact, adding more about how important proper character is to the healthy uses of our intelligences, changing chapter organization, and more. We’ll republish the book with a different title and cover in March, 2016. I’m excited!
I’d be so very grateful if you’d comment here if you have a story to encourage me and my readers. (If you post, you’re giving me permission to use your illustration. Thanks!) Here are questions I’ve thought of, but I’m sure there are others.
- How have your children benefited from understanding how they are smart?
- How has an understanding of multiple intelligences positively influenced your relationships with your children?
- Have you, as an adult, benefited in any ways from understanding how you are smart?
- Do you wish you would have known about the smarts when you were a child? What difference do you think it might have made? What if your parents and teachers would have understood there were 8 ways to be smart?
- What questions do you have that you hope my new book will address?
Can you take some time to serve and help me? Thanks so much!
Have you heard the dreaded, “I’m bored!!” more than you’d like already this summer? Although it’s good for kids and their brains to learn to handle some quiet and slower pace occasionally, Dr. Kathy recognizes it’s challenging when kids think they’re bored. That’s a key – observe to see if they’re really bored or if it’s something else. Maybe your son is jealous that a sibling chose a toy he wanted. Maybe your daughter is lonely and frustrated that her sister won’t play with her. Let’s teach our kids to express what they’re really thinking and feeling so we can help. (Make sure to watch for next week’s video about responding to kids’ complaints they’re bored.)
On Monday night at camp, three-fourths of the students raised their hands. Interesting! I believe even more would have raised their hands on Thursday if they would have been asked the same question.
930 middle school and high school students from one church spent last week at camp together. They were without phones or other handheld devices. I was so glad to be there to speak.
Mud pit. Unique slides and other activities in the lake. Mountain biking. Crate stacking. Zip line. Rappelling. Riflery. Slip ‘n Slide. Archery. Orienteering. Hiking. Super swing. So much more.
Because Dr. Kathy just attended a wedding reception for good friends and her niece got married last month, she’s been thinking a lot about what makes people attractive to each of us. What about you? What do you find attractive in people? How would you hope your children would answer this question? Do you want them attracted to teachability or pride? Optimism or pessimism? Talk about it and why you value what you do. They’ll benefit in friendships and beyond.
I was in and out of a half-sleep. If you’ve tried to rest on plane trips, you know how I was feeling. Groggy. Out-of-it. Somewhat frustrated I didn’t have the energy to concentrate long enough to get anything done and somewhat glad.
Then I heard it. Or, did I?
A minute later I was sure I heard it.
I opened my eyes to see a dad and his young daughter playing the card game in the row in front of me, to the right. Such a warm feeling followed.
Earlier on the flight, the dad had been reading something on a device. I’m not sure what his daughter was doing. Now, he was fully engaged with her.
“Do you have any 9’s?”
I loved hearing this. It wasn’t just because a dad was being a dad, but it brought back warm memories from my childhood. I hadn’t thought of the game in years, but it didn’t take much for it to come back to me.
What could you introduce your kids to this week from your childhood? What slower-paced activity could you engage in? Who can you engage with?
Do it and enjoy!
Children must understand they’re important. It can be the truth that helps them overcome challenges and motivates them to keep walking through valleys. Dr. Kathy shares three very significant insights related to this understanding. Believing them and parenting so our kids believe them can be the difference between healthy and unhealthy children. They’re that important. Please watch and share with your friends.
Someone I know posted this on Facebook:
This summer one of my goals is to take time to TEACH my kids things they have in their hearts to learn! Often times during the school year we don’t have a lot of extra time to do those things–I had them give me some ideas of things they would like to learn–so one of the things Lily wants to learn more about is sewing! So today we made a tote bag!
There’s so much I like about what Sarah posted.
- She has goals for the summer. If we don’t, before we know it, these precious weeks will be over and we may have major regrets as nothing was accomplished. I’m not suggesting we fill every waking moment with something to do. A friend posted today that she and her husband have decided to have a laidback summer because of major stress they’ve experienced. That’s a legitimate goal.
- Sarah has “TEACH” in all capital letters. She is a mom who sees herself as a parent who teaches. This is so wise. Kids can’t just be told what to do, especially if they’ve never done it before. This is disrespectful, but I think a lot of us do it all the time. Then we complain when something is not done right or well enough. No wonder too many kids don’t feel safe with their own parents. Sarah’s children are blessed to have a mom who wants to teach.
- Sarah isn’t teaching what she wants her children to know. Of course, sometimes that’s totally appropriate. It’s part of parenting. But, to use some summer time to teach children what they want to learn is so great. I respect that Sarah is aware of her kids’ hearts. Connecting heart-to-heart is magic. It’s what helps children feel known and secure. Then they’ll be willing to try new things. And, notice Sarah taught Lily how to make a tote bag. Straight lines. Not a piece of clothing that had to fit exactly right. What a wise decision.
- Asking her children to list several things that interest them, and not just one, is also smart. This acknowledges they’re multifaceted and multi-interested. Sarah can look at their interests, see if siblings might have listed similar things, consider other summer responsibilities and schedules, and decide on a sensible order for teaching her children.
- I love the two exclamation marks at the end of Sarah’s post. She is happy her daughter wants to sew. Thrilled, maybe. Why? Sarah is very creative (as is her husband) and actually has a business through which she sells her creations so Lily has no doubt watched her mom create things at her sewing machine. Sharing a personal interest with children is special. They don’t just learn skills by being with us. They learn more about us. They learn what we’re passionate about and why. Sharing experiences is a great way to pass on our values. Having more in common with our kids than simply being related facilitates healthy bonding, mutual respect, and joy. Just look at Lily’s face.
Lily learned more than how to make a tote bag. The same will be true for your children if you teach them this summer.
Sarah’s short post inspired me and I hope it inspires you. It’s such a great example of how positive social media sites like Facebook can be.