The Problem with Raising Smart Kids

is early on, they start out-smarting you.

Take, for example, my brother Matt. He is number 3 out of the four of us. He faced some medical difficulties early in his life and was a 32 week premie. But by far he is the smartest of us. Book smart and people smart. He was a charmer. If Eddie Haskell hadn’t already existed, they’d have had to invent him for comparison to Matt. My parents really outdid themselves with him. One year around the time he was ready to declare himself no longer believing in Santa, he came up with a plan. He wanted to erase all doubt that it was our parents who bought those presents under the tree and no jolly man with a bowl full of jelly was coming down our chimney on Christmas Eve. Each year our parents took the baby Jesus and kept him out of sight until Christmas morning when one of us was chosen to go downstairs and look to see if baby Jesus was in the manger and Christmas had arrived. It was a source of great pride to be chosen. Well, somehow, this year, Matt got to the baby Jesus before my parents did. And he hid him. And then he announced to our parents, “I hid the baby Jesus. And only the real Santa Claus will be able to find him.” As legend had it in our house, it was actually Santa who put the baby Jesus in the manger, The hunt was on. Come Christmas Eve, my parents had no idea where the baby Jesus was. However, they had an ally they didn’t realize. My brother Michael and I were aware of Matt’s scheme. I was probably in middle school at the time and just figured my parents would find it. Michael, however, was not as confident. That night Matt fell asleep on the floor of the living room. As it was nearing time for all of us to be in bed, Mike gently woke Matt up enough to walk upstairs to go to their rooms. And asked where the baby Jesus was. Matt, not fully awake and not realizing he was being played by his big brother, told all. After Mike got Matt in his room and was sure he was asleep, he snuck back downstairs to let my parents know the location. Thankfully my parents had Mike as a man on the inside. THAT TIME…

My kids don’t appear to be especially devious. Okay, Shelby, but not so much the boys. But Joseph, man is that kid book smart. And William hasn’t found a puzzle he can’t crack. And here’s where it gets scary for me, they are both good in math. Math. My children. They get it and like it. And science. I was always interested in science but the math kept getting in the way. Well, these kids are science and math addicted. ADDICTED. Joseph is in first grade and has already outpaced me in math.

And he’s doing really well in all his other subjects too. He’s gotten 100% on all but 1 spelling test. He brings home packets of work that all have 100% or A+ on them. I don’t say this to brag, in reality, it’s kind of sobering. He’s not a prodigy or genius but he’s smart and smarter than I was at that age. Today he brought home a notice from the school about a program run by the AIG department (it’s not AIG) that focuses on creative learning and problem solving and project based learning. He’s been selected to offer him a more challenging curriculum than what is being offered in the classroom. He’ll remain in his classroom but have pull-out time and his teacher will coordinate with the AIG teacher.

I know, I know most parents would be over the moon and we are incredibly proud of Joseph and excited for him. But I’m scared for me, scared that if he needs help or guidance, I will be useless. That’s a frustrating thought.

The problem with raising smart kids is that they are awesome, wonderful and great kids. They are going to be great leaders some day of our governments, communities and families.

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