If you’ve watched any of the Olympics, you’ve seen some of the best examples of being smart with body smart that exist. Have you also noticed the athletes’ use of their self-smart and people-smart abilities? How are picture-smart strengths relevant? Are there any smarts you haven’t noticed? Music? Nature? Logic? Word?

I hope you’ve used the television coverage to help your children understand the smarts and how their use can add to our experiences and joy. This is an ideal time to reinforce the idea that our intelligences never work alone; they always work together with others. Rich discussions are so possible! Maybe these questions and ideas will help.

How do the speed skaters and skiers use their body-smart abilities to not fall over when it appears they’re skating and skiing almost parallel to the ground? Do you think they’re all nature smart? Why or why not?

How do ice dancers spin identically to their partners? How do they throw their partners and be exactly where they need to be to catch them? How much of that ability is body smart and how might being people smart help them? Do you think it’s possible to be a figure skater without being strong in music smart? Why or why not?

In what competitions have you noticed that self-smart strengths may be helpful? Do you believe being self-smart can help athletes playing on teams like hockey or with partners like bobsledding? Why or why not?

Might being picture smart help skiers? How? What about in hockey? What other sports have you watched that may rely on picture-smart abilities? Are there any that don’t need this ability at all?

Speaking of picture smart, if you watched the opening ceremony, did you notice how picture smart the producers/choreographers must have been? The visual effects of much of what they designed were beautiful. The choice to show certain camera angels at certain times was smart. You can watch the closing celebrations and comment on these kinds of things with your children, too.

And, what about the interviews of athletes? Have you noticed good and poor uses of being people smart or maybe examples of someone not having people-smart strengths? What about being word smart? Is it only in the interviews that this smart is relevant? How do you think athletes have used this smart to get to this level of excellence?

Is logic smart the only smart judges need? Defend your answer. And, in your opinion, where else have we observed logic smart being used?

Throughout your discussions of the athletes and competition, also discuss character qualities like effort and perseverance. Discuss practice and resiliency. It’s not enough to be smart. It’s the choice to work to develop our smarts as much as our Creator wants us to that’s a key to life’s joy and success. That’s true for these athletes from around the world and it’s true for our kids in all they do.

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