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

Howard Gardner’s research that determined we each have eight intelligences has certainly encouraged thousands and thousands of people. I’ve enjoyed writing about each of the eight intelligences in detail these past two months.

Today, we finish this series with details about self smart, or intrapersonal intelligence. Although last in our list, it’s not last in importance. The importance of each is determined by our call, passions, and purposes. For some people, this intelligence is key to their success so they’d rate it high in importance. Others wouldn’t.

As I explained in their posts, word smart and logic smart are the most important in traditional schooling because children read, write, speak, listen, and ask and answer questions all day long. But, in life, others may be more important. And, the ones to support those two in school will depend upon which strengths children have and which electives they choose. When explaining these to children, it’s especially important that all eight are presented as having high value.

When using self smart, children reflect and think deeply inside of themselves. This is one reason they can be slow to answer even questions parents and teachers think are simple. These children may feel stupid and may be told they’re not smart since it takes them awhile to answer questions. They are, of course, smart.

I enjoy explaining the cause of their slowness to children during my school assemblies. I can physically see them relax when they find out they think deeply because of how they are smart. This is why decision making and answering questions can be a real effort for them. Who do you know who would benefit from knowing this? Pass it on.

When self-smart children are excited, they’ll usually want to spend time alone. When young, they may have played well alone. Now they think well alone. Even in a crowd, they may quietly think about things rather than engaging with others. (Remember, children have all eight smarts. So, if people smart is also a strength, they may rely on that when they’re with groups.)

When learning, privacy, physical space, and freedom are important. Choices and self-pace projects will motivate them. They’ll also need time to think and time to explain their ideas. It will also help to connect topics to their personal lives and to encourage original and unique work. Diaries and journaling may be favorite ways they express themselves. Any adjustments you need to make for yourself or others?

People with self-smart strengths know what they know. They think deeply to form strong opinions. This is one of several positive and healthy uses of being self smart. They produce original work and don’t succumb to other people’s opinions. They tend to be discipled and are content when alone. They may become authors, inventors, researchers, and self-employed entrepreneurs.

Unhealthy self-smart people can be unteachable. They trust their opinions so much that they don’t ask for or learn from other people’s opinions. They can be self-centered or appear that way. Also, they may not share what they know because their joy is knowing what they know. (It’s people-smart people who get their joy from telling others what they know.)

Is self smart one of your strengths? Which children do you know who probably have this strength? Who do you know who would benefit from it being awakened and/or strengthened? Go for it!

[If you want to know similar details for the other seven smarts in this series of blogs, please see them here: word smart, logic smart, picture smart, music smart, body smart, nature smart, and people smart.]