June 4, 2007

Summer Reading

“My brain doesn’t work like Abbie’s!” cried Rachel, my six-year old.

At issue was a canopy she was trying to build over her bed. Abbie had fashioned her canopy, and Rachel was trying to imitate her sister’s work. But first one blanket and then the other kept falling down.

Rachel is usually able to rig together anything she can imagine, and she’s asked if she can have a workshop in the basement “to be like Thomas Edison.” So her misfortune that night had more to do with gravity than with how her brain works.

But her dismay reminded me of Dr. Kathy’s teachings about multiple intelligences. Truly, Rachel’s brain doesn’t work like Abbie’s. God has wired each of them—and each child in your life—uniquely. What cause for celebration!

Of course, too often children do not take joy in how they’ve been created. They want to be just like a sibling or the neighbor kid. And they despair when they see they don’t “measure up.”

A parent’s job is to counter that inclination. Of course, in order to do so, you must first know and understand your child’s multiple intelligence strengths (her “smarts”); Kathy’s book, How Am I Smart?, is a wonderful, practical resource in this regard.

Second, you have to accept and then celebrate how your child is wired. If you don’t do that—if you wish your child were body smart when it’s clear he is not—your child will never accept himself. You need to get over what you want and love what is.

Finally, you can then help your child discover her strengths—to see that she is smart, though her smarts are different than her best friend’s. When she understands and accepts herself as she is, peace and contentment will bloom. And then she can apply her strengths to help her succeed in many situations.

Summer is upon us—a time when you may have more free time…or at least a few stolen moments at soccer practice! Why not use this opportunity to read Kathy’s book? Then find ways to instruct your child about who he is. In fact, if he is old enough, read and discuss it with him. That bonding experience will be the icing on the cake in your quest to help your child celebrate himself.


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