The following is a guest post written by Cara Thompson of Write Season.
My heart was torn in two when my firstborn cried out in defeat that she couldn’t do her copy work, even saying she was stupid and writing “No” all over the page.
I was stunned. I felt to blame and confused.
We had had a wonderful time learning around the table until that point so I just stayed positive and wrapped up so that she could have relief from this obvious burden.
I had boxed her in and didn’t even know it.
In this journey as a mother, I have found out a lot more about myself than I ever thought possible. And one of those things is that I’m a boxer. No, I am not any sort of athlete. I mean I like things to be nice, snug, and categorized.
I had built a routine around boxing my kids into their activities before they were even able to walk. Sadly, I carried this right into teaching them, and it had broad negative effects on my firstborn.
All that was until Dr. Kathy Koch from Celebrate Kids taught me how to step out of the box I had put myself in and embrace the smarts my kids were designed with. Her research is inspiring and strikes a true cord deep down inside.
I knew I needed to learn more after hearing her say “your child may struggle with spelling because they are so logic smart, and the English language isn’t logical. Your child is smart in a different way – embrace that!”
Here is a little of what I have learned from her research: Everyone is designed with all eight Intelligences, eight “Smarts.”
We all have different natural strengths with the “smarts” but everyone has all eight and all eight can be awakened in each of us through time and activities.
Taking the time to understand the strengths and potential weaknesses of each will help you to identify them in your kids and yourself too. From there you can grow and engage with these smarts in more intentional and empowering ways.
The 8 Smarts are:
- Word Smart: thinking with words. When excited they will talk and write, and have the power to build others up, but when working for harm they criticize, tear others down, manipulate, and have the last word.
- Logic Smart: thinking with questions. When excited and healthy they will ask more questions, stay teachable, and be a help to answer questions. When used to harm they question authority, ask so many questions that it makes others uncomfortable, and become unteachable.
- Picture Smart: thinking with the eyes in pictures. When excited they will add to visuals either in the mind or on paper, and with permission can create more beauty in many spatial mediums. When misused they can judge a book by its cover, focus on negative details, and seek unhealthy visual images.
- Music Smart: thinking in rhythms and melodies. When excited they will make music or sounds, and have the power to calm and bless. If over emphasized they may avoid relationships and prefer music, idolize music, and be harmfully influenced through music.
- Body Smart: thinking with movement and touch. When excited they will move more, and have power to encourage others by the use of their bodies – chores, sports, hugs, dance, etc. Fidgets are helpful; they give the child a positive outlet for their processing. They need alternatives to physical movement or they will get into trouble by not controlling their bodies.
- Nature Smart: thinking with patterns. When excited they will remember patterns and categories, and have the ability to naturally and easily compare and contrast, to tune into the environment, and prefer to be outside. But without an outlet for their smarts they may become discouraged and will not thrive with long stretches indoors.
- People Smart: thinking with people. When excited they will talk more, and can work best with other people by creating, encouraging, and reading body language. When used wrongly they will manipulate others and use body language to get what they want.
- Self Smart: thinking by reflecting. When excited they will want to spend time alone to reflect and think deeply; choices, physical space, and self-pace will be freeing, and they form strong opinions and firm beliefs. When misused they will trust their own opinions so much that they devalue others and become unteachable.
How did this information translate into seeing my firstborn in a new light?
First I realized that she is very self smart and needs more time to think. She is also extremely nature smart and needs to be affirmed when she stops to notice a pattern in anything.
Dr. Koch’s book How Am I Smart? has made a definite change on how I view my children’s behavior and strengths.
As I learn to give them outlets for what they are gifted in (nature, words, body) and learn to engage more of their smarts at the same time, I have already been blessed to see them thrive in new and creative ways.
How have you learned to embrace your kids’ unique smarts?