Let’s Change “How smart am I?” to “How am I smart?”

Let’s Change “How smart am I?” to “How am I smart?”

Let’s Change “How smart am I?” to “How am I smart?”


In light of my post the other day about a number of Texas Tech students not knowing answers to fundamental U.S. history questions, I became curious about how my 11-year-old would answer the questions that were posed. He actually did fairly well despite being shrouded in a dramatic cloak of boredom as he answered. That’s his typical defense mechanism. Should he have gotten the answers wrong, it would have been the “as if I care about this ridiculous subject” excuse. I’ve seen it played many times before and have probably even played the game myself a time or two or ten. 

After we asked him the questions from the video, we started diving down deeper into current events, government structure, and ended up talking about the Supreme Court. His boredom cloak was thicker and heavier than ever: shoulders slumped, arms hanging down like an orangutan, eyeballs rolling skyward. Logan asked him how many people he thought served on the Supreme Court, and because Spence is who he is, he came up with an answer that was neither specifically correct, nor incorrect: “a select few.”

A+ for wily vagueness, Spence.

Jame and I have always said that if we gave Spence five bucks and dropped him off in the middle of downtown Chicago, he’d make it home safe and sound with an additional 10 bucks in his pocket. He has a street-smart intellect that doesn’t necessarily fare very well on standardized tests, but kicks butt in the real world. Logan, on the other hand, blows 99% of standardized test-takers out of the water and can recite obscure facts and figures that he learned all the way back in 4th grade like it was yesterday, but I fear that, when he was 11 years old, given the same scenario as the one we hypothetically placed Spence in, we would not only have been out the five bucks but gas money as well to have to have gone back to the city to pick him up on the exact same corner.

They’re unique, smart kids with different types of intellect, neither right, nor wrong, better nor worse – simply different. I read an article recently on multiple intelligence that affected me profoundly. The author felt that the question we ask ourselves should not be “How smart am I?” but rather, “How am I smart?” Whether it’s spatially, linguistically, interpersonally, intrapersonally, bodily, etc., we all have strengths to celebrate and work on supplementing, and weaknesses to acknowledge and work on strengthening. 


Ask "How am I smart?" vs. "How smart am I?" - multiple intelligence


I think I lean toward Intrapersonal and Linguistic intelligence.  How about you? 



Written by Becky


  • Stephanie says:

    Congratulations Becky, you’ve gone global! That’s so cool! Be careful and write responsibly. I have enough to worry about lately without worrying about you causing an international incident.

    • Becky says:

      Steph! How good it is to hear from you once more, my long lost commenting friend. Yes, I’ve gone Down Under, however I would never commit to writing responsibly. You know better than to ask that of me.

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About Me:

Hi! My name is Becky. I’m a mom, a wife, a friend, a writer, and a compulsive thinker. Don't invite me to a spa or to shop the day away, but rather, make me laugh, engage me in interesting conversation, play a game with me, or give me a cappuccino and homemade vanilla bean flan and I’m yours ‘til the cows come home.

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