Figuring out how children are smart benefits them and us in numerous ways. They believe more in their abilities to learn and will often invest more energy in school and learning. Therefore, they’ll be more successful.

Children who know how they are smart have a healthier and more complete identity. They’ll believe more in their competence. They’ll often understand more about their purpose, know how to relate to people in better ways, and trust themselves and others through how they are smart. Knowing they are smart can definitely increase their hope.

Intelligences can be applied to many areas of life, including gratitude. Imagine – what if we applied our understanding of how children are smart to how we express gratitude? This can work for adults, too. Do you have someone to thank or are you grateful someone is in your life and you want to effectively communicate that?

How can we express “thank you” and “I love you” to those we know have these intelligence strengths? Or, since everyone has all eight, how can we communicate in eight different ways that can be well received? Here are examples for three of the smarts. On Wednesday, I’ll post ideas for the rest.

Word smart – Write a note full of specifics explaining why you’re thankful. Use synonyms and strings of adjectives to amplify your point. Or, read the note to your friend or just tell the person how you feel. Record it for them so they can listen over and over if they want to. If you want to purchase or make something, they appreciate books, paper, and different pens/pencils to write with.

Logic smart – Let these people know they’re appreciated for their problem-solving abilities. Tell them you like the questions they ask you because they help you to think things through well. They tend to appreciate puzzles to solve, games related to logic, science experiments, and chances to discover how things work. A day at a children’s museum would be great for them.

Picture smart – You probably appreciate these people’s artistic abilities, use of color, and creativity. Tell them or, better yet, show them by taking or drawing a picture to express your love and gratitude. Ask them to show you their favorite colors and pictures and why they like them so much. Go with them to a showing at the art museum. Go to a craft store and buy something to create with your friend.

My niece, Katie, is very picture smart. During her middle school years, she talked a lot about becoming an interior decorator. For her birthday one year, I purchased two books filled with pictures of rooms and houses that someone with that career might have used to get inspiration. At the time, I didn’t think that’s what Katie would become, but I honored her by listening closely and she LOVED her gift. She poured over those books for a long time and thoroughly enjoyed her dreams and telling others about them.

Have these examples generated your own ideas? Great! We should probably all express our gratitude more than we do and certainly more than one day a year. To your success…

[A version of this blog was first posted on 11-14-11.]