Every Wednesday, I’ll post about multiple intelligences so we can better understand children and why they do what they do.

Her questions were heartfelt. She really wanted answers. She needed answers.

“I am not interested in music or art. I’m not smart in these ways. What about my preschool sons? Do I need to make sure they’re smart in these ways? How can I do that since I’m not?”

Whether this mom needs to or not is an individual decision. If the smarts were word and logic, I’d say absolutely because of their importance in school. I think for most people, whether their children need the other smarts depends on the parents’ experiences, strengths, and goals for their children.

Because my parents were both music smart, they wanted my brother, Dave, and me to enjoy music. They took us to concerts, paid for us to take private lessons on two instruments each, and paid attention to our efforts and performances. We both went on to play in groups through graduate school and my brother still plays in a church orchestra. If our parents wouldn’t have been music smart, Dave and I may not have been born with interest and ability and it may not have been awakened by or strengthened by experiences.

If this mom is satisfied with her life, including her lack of interest in picture and music smart, then she may choose to not invest in helping her children have strengths in these areas. This does not mean she shouldn’t pay attention to their expressed interests and follow them. For instance, if one or both of her sons were to hum or sing spontaneously, calm down when music is played, or naturally pound on a friend’s piano when visiting, then she or her husband may want to enroll with one or both of them in a “music and movement” class at the local Y.

It’s also important to realize children may need more than their parents to awaken and strengthen their smarts. Once they’re in school, of course, teachers and peers become huge influences. Prior to school and during school years, friends and other relatives have the power to awaken and develop children’s smarts. This mom can be relieved to know she’s not solely responsible for awakening her children’s smarts.

Grandparents who are picture smart could take the boys to an art museum. The whole family could enjoy a weekend art festival. A babysitter may enjoy pointing out features of pictures in beautiful picture books. The boys, while at a park with their extended family, may enjoy talking about pictures they see in the clouds.

The boys’ cousins may play in a piano recital and attending may awaken some interest in them. They may watch a movie in a theater or at home with an amazing soundtrack that adds to the movie. Talking about it may be enough to awaken this smart. A grandmother may always have classical music playing in the background when the boys visit her.

I told this mom that it’s never too late for intelligences to grow. Hers could grow as her sons experience new activities. If they do – great. If they don’t – great. It’s okay.

She’s right to ask questions about her sons because they’re still so young. Parents should want their children to become who they were designed to be and not get in the way. I’m grateful for her heart for them.