What is "Smart"?

While driving in the car to go to Tucson yesterday, she told me she isn't smart.

So I asked her why she would say that. "Well I don't know everything, I am not smart like B or L or my teacher" was her sad reply.

My lame response came quickly, trying to soothe her hurt feelings, "You are smart, don't let what other people say or do make you feel less smart."

But that only temporarily bandages the issue. She doesn't feel smart because, on occasion, her dad will mention that he isn't smart. And I just sit back and fume when he says that and wonder if he realizes how stupid that makes those around him feel. He is "smart" but only because he tries and wants to be. He works for that, soaking up knowledge like a sponge.

But if he doesn't think he is smart, what does he think of us? When I was younger I thought I knew it all. (I was a bit of a know-it-all.) But I never doubted that I was smart, I knew how to learn things and study. But by his definition or idea of what smart is... Am I still? Is our daughter? If she isn't smart should I tell her that truth? And what is the truth?

"No, honey you aren't smart. But that is ok, because you are pretty."

Raising girls is so difficult because of the stigma placed on females in our society. Being pretty means more than being smart. The world of scientists and mathematicians is dominated by men, according to an NPR story I heard a while back. Girls don't have many GOOD role models in television shows, and I cling to those that they do have like Kari Byron from Mythbusters, and yes, she was most likely hired simply for the guys to look at. Some people may think she adds nothing to the show except boobs to look at, this is simply NOT true. I think the show would do just as well with out her, but she adds someone for my girls to look up to. She is a rare female role model in a man dominated world.

Rhayn wants to be a scientist. She loves the sciences and studying things. I support that 100%. But back to the word "SMART".

Smart doesn't mean brilliant, not like Stephen Hawkings or Albert Einstein. Merriam-Webster's online dictionary's definition is;
1: making one smart : causing a sharp stinging

2: marked by often sharp forceful activity or vigorous strength smart pull of the starter cord>

6a : neat, trim smart uniforms> b : stylish or elegant in dress or appearance c (1) : appealing to sophisticated tastes (2) : characteristic of or patronized by fashionable society

7a : being a guided missile smart bomb> b : operating by automation smart machine tool> c : intelligent 3

Rhayn, by these definitions, is smart. She is mentally alert, she is bright. She is knowledgeable about some things.

She is smart, and I will keep telling her that, and I will tell Gwennie and Tally that they too, are smart.

Because they are.

1 comment:

Amie said...

Those sweet little minds need all the encouragement we can give them! (and on a side note, have you embraced the "Tally" nickname? I've always loved it so.)

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