Most individuals have a level of competence with various skill sets. I have reasonable eye/hand coordination which allows me to play a passable game of golf. And perform magic. I play the guitar, speak Spanish and express myself with some clarity. But don’t ask me for directions. And do not ask me about algebra. I have the mathematical I.Q. of a chipmunk (I’m sure I’m insulting some very nice chipmunks).
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. While everyone has a modicum of each of these seven intelligences, some folks are more heavily endowed with one or more of these capabilities. It thus becomes important for parents to recognize – and nurture – the natural intelligence of their children rather than skew development with subjective expectation. And demand. “My boy will play football” “My daughter will be a lawyer.” “My child will go to [XYZ] college.” It’s one thing to encourage a natural athlete to study physics or a math whiz to take speech classes. But it is quite another to discourage and thereby defeat a young person’s natural gifts. Or skills. In such cases, it seems that everyone loses . . . . .