Following up my post “Nature vs. Nurture” (Oct.31st), it is heartening to know that individuals are blessed with “multiple intelligences.” I have reasonable eye/hand coordination which allows me to play a passable game of golf. I have some verbal/communicative skills and I can play the guitar. But don’t ask me for directions. Please. And don’t ask me about algebra. I have the mathematical I.Q. of a Tic Tac.
Howard Gardner in his classic book Frames of Mind speaks of seven basic intelligences that all people share: linguistic; musical; logical/mathematical; spatial; bodily/kinesthetic; interpersonal; and intrapersonal. We all have a modicum of each of these intelligences but some of us are more heavily dosed with one or more of these intelligences. It thus becomes all the more imperative for parents to recognize – and nurture – the natural intelligences of their children rather than skew development with subjective expectation — “my boy will play football” “my girl will be a lawyer.” It is one thing to encourage a natural athlete to study physics or a math whiz to play a musical instrument. But it is quite another to discourage and thereby defeat a child’s natural gifts.