Sparking The Genius Quality: Vitality
Thanks for reading my blog. I don’t take it for granted and I’m very grateful for your interest and teachability. I hope you’re enjoying this series about the genius qualities identified by Dr. Tom Armstrong. There are links at the end of this post to the first 8 posts if you missed them. Today’s genius quality is vitality.
When I speak about these genius qualities at conventions, as I’ll do this week in North Carolina, many parents admit this is a challenging quality to value. Why? Because like some of the others, it can get kids into trouble. Based on his work, how does Dr. Armstrong define vitality?
Vitality is “Being awake to your senses, totally and immediately responsive to the environment, and actively engaged in each and every moment.”
Dr. Armstrong concluded that “vitality is the essential spark of genius.” Therefore, it’s certainly one we should want to encourage in the children and teens we influence.
On Saturday, I spoke about multiple intelligences to about 150 older teens and young adults. One 17-year-old boy was riveted and smiling the entire time. As I interacted with some of them after my presentation, he commented that he has allowed his diagnosis of ADHD to be an albatross. He absolutely loved knowing that he was most likely body smart.
I was able to add to his joy when I explained that he also might have this genius quality. Several of us talked about how being ADHD and ADD doesn’t mean you can’t pay attention; it means you pay attention to everything. They have vitality for life!
I wish you could have seen especially this one boy and a girl as they listened to me explain that it’s a strength to be awake to their senses, responsive to the people and things around them, and actively engaged in everything. They have this genius quality.
When the boy doubted, which didn’t surprise me given the beliefs he walked in the room with, I challenged him to tell me what he remembered from my talk. His peers were impressed as he defined the smarts and remembered my illustrations. He listened intently because he was capable and he was encouraged.
Kids’ Liveliness, Intensity, and Fervor is Exhausting
Many young children may naturally have the genius quality of vitality. But, it can die out because it’s not easy for us when our children are actively engaged in each and every moment. Their liveliness, intensity, and fervor can exhaust us. Their constant comments or questions about what they observe may frustrate us.
But, that’s what makes it a genius quality. Their mental energy keeps them thinking. They see what others haven’t noticed. They hear things with fresh ears. It’s what allows them to discover what could be improved or invented from scratch.
What do you think? Can you choose to not squelch your children’s enthusiasm – their vitality?
Meanwhile, what about you? Many years ago, when first studying this, I realized I was not awake to everything around me. I chose to work at reawakening this quality in myself. I often choose to slow down a bit and notice more. Vitality is what leads to wonder. I have discovered the truth in Dr. Armstrong’s idea that “vitality is the essential spark of genius.” I’m choosing to experience more of life with all five senses. I want to assume less and be open to new insights more.
Not only will vitality add to our thinking power. Choosing to process life with it will help us better understand children who naturally have this quality.
Check out other blogs in this series: