Not Every Kid Is A Genius, So What?

There, I said it out loud.

Whoa, whoa, whoa…before you bring the passionate comment (which I totally appreciate BTW), just hear me out.

Let’s be honest with ourselves first and everybody else second: Not every child is a genius; they just aren’t. They can’t be, and so what? I think we can all agree that it takes varying levels of intelligence and talents to make the world go ’round; right? So why then do so many parents wish/hope/pray/expect/assume that their child is, in fact, a genius? Do they get a special tax break? Is it a one-upper thing? I don’t get it.

Sometimes it seems like children are born into this world and immediately branded “exceptional”. Hey, I’m at least a little guilty if doing the branding myself. The time my mom told me my 7-month-old son uttered “Chicago,” I totally convinced myself my son was a genius, at least for a second anyway. The last thing I wanted to be was a parent of the “My kid is a genius” variety. You know these parents, they’ll tell you how their 2-year-old is the next Picasso or how their 1-year-old can write his name. Gag. 

When I encounter “My kid is a genius” parents, I try my best to smile and nod while making careful mental notes for my next blog entry. The best part of any conversation with this parent type is that once you finally break away, you realize they never once asked about you or your kid. It’s all about their genius kid and the glow of genius-ness that surrounds them. Double gag.

If you ask me (not that you did), I think the genius label is a heavy burden for any child to bear. I fear the love and acceptance these talented kids receive from their parents is contingent upon their cerebral performance. No thank you.

Besides all that, the whole genius thing is highly subjective. Since genius can take shape in so many forms, how do we define it? One of the more popular definitions suggests genius is an IQ of 130 or higher, which even then only accounts for about 2% of the population.

I couldn’t tell you if one or both of my kids were geniuses. From what I see, their exceptional talents may reach outside academics and that is just fine with me. All I can do is encourage them every day to try their personal best and ask for help when they need it. I personally believe that it’s OK not to be the smartest or the best all time so long as you always give it the old college try.

Kids deserve to be kids. They deserve to play and act silly, free of the heavy labels. By allowing our children to be their fantastic selves, amazing gifts await our discovery.

What are your thoughts on “genius” kids?

More on Toddler Times:

Top 10 Bittersweet Moments of Toddlerhood

7 Things That Make You an Awesome Parent

My Dirty Little Secret

Article Posted 4 years Ago
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