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

Do you think in pictures with your eyes? While reading and listening, do the words cause you to see pictures? If they do, it’s because you’re picture smart.

It’s hard for me to relate because creating a picture is almost always the last thing I do when reading and listening. It’s very rare. If I do draw in my mind, it’s because I’ve been told to, I’m disinterested and I think it will help me stay engaged, or I’m confused and I hope a picture brings clarity.

The picture above is being used in my church for our Pastor’s current sermon series about the essentials to believe in order to fully follow Christ. Posters line the hallways and it’s the power point slide used at the beginning of Stephen’s teaching.

I like it. I liked it the first week, the second week, and the third week. I liked it more the third week because I finally saw Jesus in the picture. Do you see Him? Did you see Him immediately? I didn’t.

When the sermon series began, I just saw the dots as a unique design. Something modern that people would enjoy. It took three weeks of seeing it before I really saw it. I’m not stupid, it’s just that I’m not very picture smart.

Did you see Jesus in the dots right away? Great! It’s because you’re picture smart. You’re not smarter than me. You’re just smart differently.

In school, did anyone ever ask you about pictures in your mind? I bet they didn’t and I bet that confused you. If a teacher did, you were blessed!

We must ask children if they see pictures because our questions are a way children figure out what we value. If we never ask, “While reading or listening, did pictures come to mind?” they may decide their pictures aren’t important. If we ask, “If you created a picture while you read, would you like to describe it to us?” they’ll see their pictures as valuable and so will other children.

Asking about children’s pictures also will enrich your understanding of the topic. I don’t think there’s been a time when children or adults have shared a picture that I haven’t benefited from “seeing” it with them. Their reactions to the topic have expanded my understandings and joy. Our conversations about the pictures have been rich and enjoyable.

Something almost more valuable also occurs. I get to know the people better. I understand them and how they think and how they are smart. The way they are smart is affirmed, they become known, and it’s deeply encouraging to them. I know because they’ve told me.

Who can you encourage today? Who can you help think and learn today? Who needs to be more known? It might be as easy as saying, “Please tell me what you see when you listen to my story.”