“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.”
~ Albert Einstein
Our children will become the ones who influence the way civilization evolves in the future. It is natural for us to want the best for them, and to help them develop their gifts and talents.
The rational mind is logical and analytical. The intuitive mind has been described as that part that sees many things at once, views the big picture, contains perspective, is heart centered, oriented in space and time, and tends to the real or concrete.
This kind of thinking cannot be taught, as much as modeled. It involves language, communication and sharing ideas with others in a way that feels safe.
Intelligence is not just about “book learning.” We all know of people who achieved great success, be it in farming, business, or computer technology who may not even have completed high school.
While I am certainly an advocate of education, there is a danger that children might equate their intelligence with how they do in school. While there certainly is some connection, many very intelligent children do not, for various reasons, perform well in school. They may have difficulty with attention, sitting still, behavior, or they may be bored.
It is important for parents to help children have confidence in their own brains! Perhaps they are skilled at building things, or they are artistic. A child might have a good imagination. These are all signs of intelligence. Similarly, a child might be very compassionate and understanding. This demonstrates emotional intelligence.
School success depends on so much more than what the score on an IQ test. There must be motivation, an ability to concentrate and stay focused, and a good fit between learning style and the teaching style of the classroom.
If you really want to raise intelligent children, then have intelligent conversations with them. Expose children to the world of knowledge beyond what is taught in the classroom.
Most importantly, be curious about their own thoughts.
Show them that their thinking has value, beyond knowing a right answer. Ask them often what they think about a topic, listen carefully, showing them that their ideas are interesting. Do not tell them the way they think is wrong!
Certainly, you can express a different way of looking at the topic or issue, but follow up with a question about what they think of that.
Over the years I have worked with some brilliant people, often women at high levels in their companies, who hold back expressing their valuable ideas. They fear they might be seen as wrong, or they don’t want to step on the toes of a higher up.
Thus, the “intelligence” of the organization is diminished.
However, you are involved with the children in your life, value their ideas, and ask their opinion. Build their self-esteem, and encourage them, even if they are not blazing stars in the classroom. Einstein wasn’t.
Gwen Randall-Young is an author and award-winning psychologist. For permission to reprint this article, or to obtain books, CDs or MP3s, visit www.gwen.ca. Follow Gwen on Facebook for inspiration.