Why are multiple intelligences so appealing? Whether people hear me discuss them on the radio, attend a short seminar, learn through a full day of training, or read my book, the response is the same. People are grateful, enthusiastic, and encouraged. In different amounts, all of us are word smart, logic smart, picture smart, music smart, body smart, nature smart, people smart, and self smart.
During trainings, I notice parents, teachers, teens, and children sitting up straighter and straighter as my teaching continues. Some appear to move to the edge of their seat as they wait expectantly for the next insight. They want to discover another way they are smart.
There’s hope in our smarts and that’s part of the appeal.
Also, we all have a drive inside to know ourselves better. The “smart” information explains why we like what we like and do well on some things and not others. It’s comforting and helpful to know. Learning about our smarts gives us the language we need to know ourselves and explain ourselves to others. This self-knowledge empowers us to be who we were created to be. And, that is fulfilling!
We also want to be known accurately by others. Once we learn about the eight intelligences, we see evidence of them in ourselves and others. They’re easily observable. It’s not hard to see music-smart ability in our oldest child who picks up a new song quickly during a church service. We notice the nature-smart and picture-smart ability in a child who gets lost looking at the clouds.
We can now attribute these experiences, and others like them, to our children being smart and not just interested or good at something. Smart is a power word! Smart is a power behavior!
When learning about how their children are smart, parents might discover that what they thought was a problem actually isn’t a problem. We can see that our children are different, not bad. Smart uniquely from others, not stupid. Smart, not just interested.
When we parent from this perspective, children feel safe. But, it’s more than that. They don’t just feel safe, they are safe. Because they’re emotionally and intellectually able to relax, they can apply themselves without worrying about feeling stupid because they’re working hard. They can trust their parents to be for them and not against them. That is very powerful and freeing.
But there’s more. It’s rare that I don’t teach on this topic where I have adults tell me they feel smarter by the end of the training or radio interview than they did when I began. So many tell me they start by listening with their children in mind and they’re soon also listening with themselves in mind.
Understanding this model helps adults reframe their educational past. They may have thought they were stupid or “the dumb one” as compared to a sibling. Sadly, they may have been told that. Now they know they’re just smart differently. Maybe school wasn’t easy because word and logic smarts aren’t strengths. But, now they know they were good at music, athletically inclined, and good with people because they are smart.
We can change our perspective toward our parents as we understand they did not know this. If they would have, perhaps they would’ve celebrated the way we are smart just like we now can with our children. This is healing!
There are many reasons understanding our 8 great smarts is appealing!
[callout]8 Great Smarts is an extensively expanded re-release of my 2007 book, How Am I Smart? If you read that, you might be wondering how 8 Great Smarts is better. I include much more about character, added relevant ideas about technology, included more ideas about learning with all the smarts, reorganized the chapters for a fresh read, and ended the chapters very uniquely. I think you’ll love it![/callout]