Every parent wants their child to be smart, but I really think the majority of smarts is really just hard work.

I was a precocious child.  I took to new words easily. I read readily.  Math was initially very easy, but I didn’t have a lot of patience for it.  Instead, I leaned heavily on my memory and absorbed information quickly.

And, so, in elementary school, I was constantly recommended by my teachers for the gifted program, but when I took the test, I would fall short of the minimum scores.

The reason is that those tests relied in thinking, not memory.  In the classroom, memory is what matters.  You have to simply recall the thing that the teacher said one day three days ago.  Easy.  But solving logic puzzles takes work.

I hope our children learn to work.  I want to try to teach them to work with their brains, even though it really doesn’t come easily to me.  Even today I find myself slapping my forehead with the revelation about something a teacher once tried to explain to me. I remembered the explanation pretty easily.  But I didn’t understand it. I didn’t really take it in.

So, I want my kids to work. I want them to stop, be in the moment, and really understand what’s happening.

Selfishly, I want to see what they’re taught in hopes of learning better about it myself.  But while I have the luxury of ignoring linear algebra in my adult life, they need that in order to succeed as students.  And I want them to value the effort and work that it takes to do it right.

Categories: Parenting