So many really bright, creative people have grown up thinking they weren’t smart. A friend recently brought up Albert Einstein’s struggles in school. Until Einstein found higher mathematics and physics, he was a terrible student. I have another friend whose son is currently struggling in school. The boy is incredibly bright. He does well on assignments, but he doesn’t fit in the same mold as the other students. Paul McCartney and George Harrison were told that they had no musical talent. Elvis was excluded from his school glee club because the teacher thought he’d ruin their sound.

I realize that there are a lot of wonderful teachers out there. I also realize that the current system is built to recognize and encourage only one narrow type of intelligence and behavior. Children who fit into that category do well and are encouraged. I was one of those students. I excelled in school. The problem is that too many children don’t.

It’s up to those of us who are parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, friends, or who work with children at church or elsewhere in the community to recognize the skills, talents, and gifts of those children. It’s up to us to encourage children to find the things that fill their hearts with joy. It’s up to us to be advocates for those children who don’t fit into the mold.

The world would be a very dull place indeed if everyone thought, learned, and behaved in exactly the same way. If there is a special child in your life, encourage him (or her) to find his own passion. If there is more than one, consider yourself blessed. As a matter of fact, don’t just confine yourself to the children in your life. There are a lot of adults out there who still believe they aren’t smart because they didn’t make the honor roll in junior high.

Intelligence comes in many forms. Celebrate the myriad types of intelligence you find in the people around you.


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