Every Wednesday, I’ll post about multiple intelligences so we can better understand children and why they do what they do.
All of us are born with a capacity to develop all eight smarts. Although it’s never too late to awaken them, the earlier they’re awakened, the better. It’s a greater likelihood they’ll develop as strengths.
Let me share four awakening strategies, in no particular order. We want to create “crystallizing experiences,” a term coined by Dr. Thomas Armstrong. These are turning points that spark the birth of an intelligence. Next Wednesday, I’ll share four more. As you’ll see, it doesn’t have to take a lot of work. The summer is a perfect time to make time for these.
Create new experiences. New experiences awaken interest and ability and both are important for developing intelligences. Strategically plan to do new things. Model this and do new things as a family. Don’t just expect a child to do new things when no one else is.
Attend cultural events. These specific types of new experiences can effectively awaken our smarts and our children’s smarts. Experience the symphony, ballet, opera, concerts, art museums, and area festivals. Open your eyes wide and take it all in. Open your ears all the way and enjoy and react to new sounds. Culture awakens interest and ability.
Go exploring. Investigate what you discover and allow children to do the same. This, too, awakens both interest and ability. For example, when Albert Einstein was four years old, his father showed him a magnetic compass. When an adult, Einstein later said this compass filled him with a desire to ferret out the mysteries of the universe. Essentially, this experience activated his sleeping genius and started him on the journey toward discoveries that would make him one of the towering figures in 20th century thought.
Engage in discussions. Partly because of their use of digital technology, it can be challenging to get kids talking. But, discussions are essential for vocabulary development and that plays a huge role in intelligences. While experiencing new things and exploring, we can ask questions and make provocative statements. We can work to relate the topic to as many smarts as possible. Use rich language to awaken interest and ability.
Which intelligences can you awaken in one of these ways this week? Do something and celebrate the growth.
[A version of this post was first published on February 22, 2012.]