Using All Of Your 8 Smarts
Many parents and teachers ask me how to determine which smarts are the strongest for their children. I understand why they want to know.
As valuable as that may be, I was recently reminded again that talking with children about choosing to engage all their smarts at the same time may have more value. Using all 8 adds joy to every experience.
Last Wednesday I drove through the Fossil Rim Safari in Glen Rose, TX, with my friend, Dede. We used all 8 smarts.
How Did We Use Our 8 Smarts?
First of all, the way that Dede and I used our word smart might be obvious. We visited and talked and shared stories as we drove to and from the park and while we were in the park. But, it’s thinking with and learning with the smarts that are keys. We did that as Dede read about the animals in a booklet. Then, when she read that the Arabian Oryx “can switch from ruminating to eating” we looked up the word “ruminating” at Dictionary.com. I knew it meant to think deeply over and over again when applied to people. We discovered the meaning when applied to an animal is “chewing the cud.”
Because when using logic smart you think with questions, this overlapped with our use of word smart. Also, we asked a lot of questions of each other as we discussed our lives, our friendship, and the animals. For instance, we asked why God created animals that were so strange looking, whether animals with similar patterns in their fur were definitely related, and what was in the food we were allowed to feed them.
Even though I don’t consider myself terribly picture smart, I, of course, used my eyes all day and thought in pictures. I compared the zebras and the giraffes to those I have seen on safari in Africa. I compared the landscape to what it looked like the last time I was on this particular safari. And, of course, just seeing the beauty of God‘s creation made it a very refreshing day.
How Did We Your Music Smarts?
In addition, can you think of a way that we might’ve used our music smart skills while on a safari? I don’t remember that either of us hummed or sang. However one of the animals that appears to be a part of the elk family definitely trumpeted a warning of sorts. We think he was communicating to other males to stay out of his territory. We heard it because we were thinking with our ears and realized that it was a type of music. We heard it again later when we were having lunch at the Outlook Café and were quite far away. This might be one of my favorite memories as I reflect on it.
Self smart because that’s the smart that requires us to reflect and think deeply inside of ourselves. It’s important to realize that I’m drawing the conclusion that it’s a favorite memory many hours after actually hearing the sound. While at the park, Dede and I did use our self smart as we thought internally about our experiences and for whatever reason chose not to verbalize them. It’s not necessary when being self smart.
What About The Last 3 Smarts?
Believe me, though; we were more people smart than we were self smart. When being people smart, we think with other people. Accordingly, I said something and Dede responded. Then she said something, and I responded. It’s through the conversation that clarity and new insights arose. Dede and I did that all day long.
What about body smart? When using this intelligence, you think by moving and by doing. Although we were stuck in my car, so we were limited, we did use our hands to express our joy often. And, our faces lit up, too. Feeding the animals out of our hands and petting a few of them increased the depth of our memories and joy.
That leaves nature smart. We thought with patterns all day long, and we enjoyed being in and surrounded by nature. We especially pointed out the patterns on animals’ fur, the shape and design of the different horns, and the shape of unique trees. I’m not terribly nature smart, but it didn’t matter. I used all 8 smarts and had a great day!
Encourage The Use Of All 8 Smarts
Let me return to my opening statement about parents’ desire to determine which smarts might be their children’s strengths. That certainly is a worthy endeavor. You can use experiences like I had to figure it out. Listen and look.
When you’re having fun doing something or doing nothing in particular, which smarts do you see your children use? What do they talk about and when they do ask questions, what do they ask about? Are they depending on their eyes to think with? Are they moving and acting things out? Do they need to talk with you about their insights or do you see them pondering things privately? If you want to make note of their current strengths, you should be able to.
Just remember that because children’s intelligences are being developed and are growing, they will be heavily influenced by purpose and passion. What you observe your children do often and well today may be very different from a month ago. That’s why keeping your eyes and ears open and never assuming you know for sure how children are especially smart is smart parenting. This is especially true when your children are young.