Thursday, April 14, 2011

Why Being Smart Isn't Enough

I often hear other parents talking about how smart their kids are.  They enlighten us about their kids' test scores and reading levels like the rest of us talk about the weather.  While I'm happy that Billy is getting all A's, has read War and Peace six times and has memorized the Periodic Table of the Elements, my main concern is that he doesn't say hello when passing by or can't even look me in the eye when he does choose to speak to me. 

The measure of of someone's success isn't always wrapped up in IQ scores.  The most successful people are usually the ones who get along well with others, don't have a sense of entitlement, work hard for what they want and have a positive attitude.  Some smart people I know have these characteristics, some don't.  But, without these characteristics, their intelligence level is of little matter.

So, while I obviously want my kids to get good grades, I want them to learn how to get along in the world even more. I want them to take others' feelings into consideration before speaking or acting.  I never want them to feel entitled to anything.  If they are not willing to work hard for something, it's not worth having.  These are all characteristics they learn at home, by the way.  My husband and I are responsible for teaching our kids to be the best human beings they can possibly be. The school isn't responsible.  My in-laws are not responsible.  I am.  I want responsible human beings far more than all A's on a report card.

If I teach my kids that it's OK to complain about everything that doesn't go their way or to blame someone else for the decisions they make that didn't turn out as planned I will be setting them up for failure. If they get everything they ask for just because we (or Grandma and Grandpa) can afford it, they aren't learning about the value of a dollar or setting monetary goals.  If they get all A's on their report cards but can't take responsibility for their actions or get along well with others, I haven't done my job.

Intelligence doesn't always determine success. When I hear about Billy reading War and Peace please know that I'm not impressed.  I would be far more impressed if Billy said, "good morning, Mrs. Murray" while looking me in the eye or stood up for a friend in need.  I might stop breathing momentarily and pinch myself to make sure I'm not dreaming but I would think to myself, now there's a kid who's going places.


Hamza Balol said...

Hello Ms. Kimberlee,

I guess you are the one who wrote the wonderful story "The Constant," from the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, right? My heart was so touched and deeply moved for the most beautiful heart touching article I have ever read in my life. The story had a very positive impact on my life. It greatly warmed my heart and gently touched my soul. The author's writing style is beautiful enough to fascinate the readers and the story is no doubt the heart of the book.

Best regards,
Hamza Balol
Saudi Arabia

Kim Murray said...

Thank you again, Hamza. I'm so glad you like the story!


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