Choosing to use several smarts at the same time is wise. As I tell people when I teach, although I separate them to explain them, they actually never work alone. Knowing about the eight allows us to draw upon them as we need them. This doesn’t just increase our success. It can increase our joy. The more we experience the eight, the easier it becomes to predict which ones will help us in different circumstances. Then we can activate each way of thinking to benefit us.
It’s important for children to understand this for studying and life. Here’s an example from my recent trip overseas. I hope you’ll use it to help you explain the concept to them.
While in the Netherlands on April 7th, I spent several hours in Keukenhoff – a visually stunning garden specializing in tulips. Although the nature-smart and picture-smart intelligences are not strengths for me, I wanted to go. Why?
I honored our hosts. Holland is famous for tulips. It was certainly sensible they’d want me and the others I was with to see their famous garden. As my friend Andrea says, “People trump everything.” Absolutely. It would have been ridiculous to suggest I couldn’t go because I wasn’t smart in the right ways.
I teach children not to let their weaknesses win. If I wouldn’t have gone, that’s what I would have done. I want to live out what I teach. Plus, how can my weaker smarts ever become stronger if I don’t try to use them?
I knew my intelligence strengths were relevant. For instance, because I’m people smart, I enjoy thinking, questioning, and discovering with others. I knew several of the people I’d be going with so I predicted we’d have rich discussions.
Some of the people in our group were new to me so I was looking forward to getting to know them better. Because I’m a people-smart introvert, it’s often easier to develop healthy relationships during shared experiences rather than by just sitting around talking. So, this was another reason passing up this opportunity would be foolish.
This happened. We talked about the variety of the flowers, the way the garden was designed (truly amazing!), and many other things as we walked the many paths and ate lunch together. I honestly believe lifelong friendships were formed and it wouldn’t have happened without the shared experience.
Questions originating in the logic-smart section of my brain would be another strength I could use to experience the park. Because I’ve done other nature-smart activities, I was confident I’d be curious enough to enjoy myself.
That’s what happened. I didn’t verbalize all my questions because I didn’t want them to spoil my friends’ emotional, picture-smart experience. Not everybody wanted or needed to know what I wondered about. Too often in the past, my logic strengths have interfered with people’s joy and fun experiences. So, I didn’t verbalize all my questions. And, I made it clear that, when I asked, I was okay not having answers. I wasn’t frustrated.
My mom is another reason I wanted to go. Remember, “people trump everything.” My mom loved her gardens and arranging flowers in vases for each room of our home and, later, her apartment. I wanted to go and try to experience everything through her eyes.
She would have loved it. If she was still here, she would have been the first person I would have told about it. And, I would have bought her tulip bulbs. Instead, I bought some for my brother and two friends.
What’s the bottom line? I thoroughly enjoyed my day at Keukenhoff and I would love to return. We must not let our weaknesses win. We must lead with our strengths.
Maybe this weekend, as you’re possibly going to gather with friends and family to celebrate Easter, you can help your kids prepare well by talking about how their smarts will be relevant. Then, watch your kids use them and affirm them and the ways they are smart.
Do the same on regular days and your kids will be blessed. More success and more joy are most likely outcomes.
I’ve posted more pictures from Keukenhoff on our Facebook page. You’ll enjoy them. www.facebook.com/celebratekidsinc