Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Don't Get Smart with Me!

There are all kinds of smart. 
Smarty Pants:  A know it all, quick of tongue
Smart Alec: a mocker, makes fun at others' expense
Smart Mouth: someone who talks back, disrespectful
Smarty Farty:  Really is smart... but knows it and annoys
Street Smart: knows how things/people/situations work through experience and intuition

What is smart in our society? I can't tell anymore! Used to be a B average or better was smart. 
Now you can be an A student, but technically you're still not as smart as the AP student who gets an A and extra grade points. Now that's smart. The new Core Curriculum is trying to focus almost solely on Math, Science, and Technology. When we compare ourselves to other nations, these seem to be the academic areas we focus on. Granted, these areas are the source of industrial development, medical discovery and technological advances as well as complicated weapons and warfare subjects I don't even want to think about, but who will bring the beauty? Where will our writers and poets and artists and musicians come from?Will we lose our thinkers, our pastors, our dreamers?  If we practice educational tunnel vision, who's genius do we lose in the process? 

Albert Einstein, who is acknowledged world wide as a genius, was not in AP classes. Quite the contrary, 
He skipped class, and was known as a daydreamer and a goof off. His father passed away while Einstein was in his 20's believing he was a disgrace to their family. Can you imagine?

Thomas Edison is known for a quote about genius being "99% perspiration and 1% education."
He invented the light bulb: the universal symbol of ideas for heaven's sake!

Abner Doubleday is given the incredible distinction of having discovered the game of baseball. 
Think about it. He was an average student, with an average drive. What an immense impact he had on our culture! 

Abraham Lincoln is touted as the "smartest president ever." He had extremely little formal education, taught himself the law well enough to pass the Bar exam, and lead our country with honesty and integrity. 

I am guessing every one of these people had a little "smarty pants" and "street smart" to them. Smart comes in all shapes and sizes, all ages and colors, all backgrounds and experiences. Because we struggle with attention issues in our family, I have many times felt like shaking teachers, or coaches, etc. and yelling, he/she is really smart! These kids are creative and intelligent, clever and funny. They are caring and intuitive and capable! It just so happens that they don't listen too well, and they are disorganized and scattered, do not do well on standardized tests: often square pegs for the round holes we call our education system. I pray their smarty pants, street smart ways will help them like it helped Einstein and Lincoln. There has to be room in our world for Einsteins and Edisons and Van Goghs and Emily Dickinsons so we can enjoy not only the technical capabilities,but the beauty of the human mind. Make room for the dreamers and the thinkers and for my kids and your kids who may be square pegs that will change the world!!

* you can't have smart without "art"

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