I just re-started my computer after it was doing a strange typing language all of its own. Letters were added or dropped or capitalized so a word would look like: mdasfpafhjtjklath when I meant to write "muffin."
I called Paul at work, a maelstrom raging in my chest, and the phone kept hanging up on me.
At this point, I felt like a character in that terrible movie Maximum Overdrive. In this film, the machines rise up against the hapless humans. It also features an all AC/DC soundtrack. My brother, naturally, loved this film almost as much as he loved Dune and Big Trouble in Little China.
Did I have a point? Ah yes. Me get frustrated quickly. Like caveman.
It made me think about the ways that we are all smart. Howard Gardner, the Multiple Intelligence Guru, talks about not if we are smart, but how we are smart. It makes so much sense to me. I am not a logical, detail-oriented person, so at the first sign of computer issues, I freaked out and called Paul, who calmly said, "Why don't you restart it?"
Oh. Right. Paul is so logical, so patient, and so detail-oriented, which makes him a perfect counterpoint to my big-idea, impulsive, dreamy perspective.
I'll tell Paul, "I would like to go camping this summer." While I am daydreaming about mountain landscapes and fresh, icy-blue lakes, Paul is doing a cost-analysis of the best tents, referencing Consumer Reports and the comments on Amazon.com.
People would suggest that Paul's type of smart is more functional in the world---and yes, that very well may be true---but my kind of smart makes it a world worth living.
Gardner talks about spatial intelligence, which makes me think of my father-in-law, a man who hated school from the first moment and doesn't want me to see his writing. His deeply-instilled fear of evil English teachers and their Red Pens of Doom is no joke. He was taught from a very young age that he was "not smart."
This same man can fix any engine. He can unlock the systems of a motor and instantly understand the intricate dance of the gears. He fashions quick fixes out of wires and gum, and can competently do any mechanical task. I am humbled by his intelligence.
It's early, and I don't want to label my children, but I can tell that both boys learn best by doing. Owen is very logical, and he likes the cause and effect of experimentation. He is visual, and I suspect will do very well in traditional school.
Joel? Yes, he is not even two, but I already suspect that he will require some creative teachers to tap his skills. I don't think he's a verbal kid, in regards to sitting and listening. His learning will be messy, interactive, and relevant.
As a educator, I will have to allow my children to own their education. They need to learn that they are smart, and being smart means finding methods of learning that suit their needs.
Yes, there will be teachers that try to stuff them in boxes, toe the line, and check off the boxes. Part of being smart is learning how to deal with that.
But, at home, as they do their homework, study for tests, and make meaning of the world, it will be their challenge (and mine), to channel their natural intelligences, and let the world unfold like a daffodil.
What do you think? How do your children use their gifts? How do you encourage them? What are your (and their) struggles?