February 4, 2014

Expressing “Smart Love”

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, many of us are beginning to consider how we might show our affection for friends and family, including the kids in our lives. On the one hand, I don’t personally overdo Valentine’s Day because I believe we should demonstrate love every day, not just when tradition and Hallmark dictate. But at least the holiday gives us the opportunity to remember the importance of expressing our feelings.

Of course, if we’re going to make that effort, we should purpose to be intentional about it. And taking into consideration the multiple intelligence strengths of those we love is an excellent starting point.

For example, a word smart child will appreciate a heart-felt card – maybe written in clever verse she can analyze for meter and rhyme. Alternately, she would love a journal for herself or beautiful stationery she can use to bless others with her word smart gifts.

On the other hand, a picture smart child might value a coloring book, drawing paper, markers and paint, or a special graphic novel. And you could express your love for a music smart kid by giving a new songbook from which he can sing or play his instrument of choice, or tickets to a favorite artist’s concert.

What about a logic smart child? A card written in code, puzzles of various sorts, and coupons for family game nights to play Risk, Stratego, and Chinese checkers come to mind.

A body smart kid would love coupons for family time at a skating rink or bowling alley, or trips to the gym for parent-child basketball games and buddy workouts. Of course, he would appreciate simple cuddle time, too, because body smart people thrive on touch.

For a nature smart child, you can offer field guides for plants and animals native to your region, a visit to a botanical garden, or a butterfly habitat kit for when the weather (finally!) warms up. And this is the child who can’t ever have enough stuffed animals!

People smart folks thrive in relationship. So what about surprising your people smart kid with permission to invite a couple of friends for a sleepover? Alternately, consider hosting a simple daytime gathering with a handful of her “besties;” it needn’t be elaborate because she’ll most value the opportunity to be with others.

And what of the self smart child – the one who thinks deeply within himself and is most content when alone? Life for most of us – kids and adults alike – is often much too busy, loud, and chaotic, and self smart people become acutely stressed by that reality. Thus, any opportunity you can provide for peace and quiet – time alone at home for an older child or teen, or clear permission for a younger child to enjoy a book, music, or art supplies in solitude – would be an amazing blessing.

Obviously, these are just a few ideas out of myriad possibilities. But they demonstrate how we can consider a child’s smarts when expressing our love – at this time of year and always. What can you add to each list as you think of your own kids?

Photo Credit: Melissa


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