A reporter asks, other than encouraging a child to to read, ask questions, be curious and creative, what else must parents do to raise a smarter child, to foster knowledge gathering? “Need simple steps. . .”

The simplest step is to accept that there’s no simple step. In our global community of mind-bending cultural and neuro-diversity, I can’t buy “knowledge gathering” as a contemporary definition of “smart.” How useful is a store of facts without social smarts?

A “smarter” child will be one who learns to consider the perspectives of others, adapt to changing social environments, prioritize his time and his values, distinguish fact from opinion, understand how he fits into the community whether its a classroom, a team, a town or a country. A “smarter” child is one imbued with common sense and empathy; can that kind of knowledge be “gathered,” or rather must it be nurtured?

Call it street smarts, call it savvy, call it horse sense. Call it perceptive, canny, perspicacious. I don’t know a simple way to teach those things other than increment by increment over a long period of time.

I do know that lack of social smarts will get you fired from a job or evicted from a home quicker than lack of knowledge.


One Response to “Don’t buy “knowledge gathering” as contemporary definition of “smart””

  1. Leigh Atkins says:

    I’ve always thought the definition of smart is the ability to make connections between the knowledge that you have acquired, so if you have no knowledge you’ve got nothing to make connections between. Austistic people make connections but they are usually between much more radically different stuff. I tell my high-functioning austistic son that no-one can see the world the way the austistic do & humanity needs them. They suspect that both Newton & Einstein may have been Autistic & look at the connections they made – Einstein saw space & time… no-one saw that coming & he changed the world. I tell my son that his job while he lives life, is to see the connections that the rest of us can’t see coz we need him, we need them all. God bless ‘em.
    Btw, an autopsy of Einstein’s brain revealed the highest number of neuron connections ever seen in a human brain!

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