by Carolynn J. Scully

My grandchildren are smart. And yours are, too!

The recent end of the school year and graduations brought a flood of brags about our grandchildren and their accomplishments. Throughout the rest of the year, we get to celebrate good report cards, physical milestones, promotions, new jobs, and other wonderful deeds. All of that is good and rightly earned, but there was once a time when I had nothing to celebrate.

Some of my grands are fast learners, high achievers, and will earn college scholarships. Others don’t have those strengths. They learn at a different pace, and school is not where they want to be. But they are still smart!

I have always been proud of my grands and have been eager to shout out their victories on social media and everywhere else, but sometimes it didn’t quite feel right after seeing other grandparents announce news of their grandkids’ academic successes. At the time, it felt like they were (unintentionally) throwing a shadow over my smart grandkids.

Thankfully, my perspective has changed with help from a book I recently read entitled 8 Great Smarts by Kathy Koch, Ph.D.

Now I have new ways to brag!

My grandchildren are very smart, and now I have academic proof.

Dr. Koch’s book is about how to discover and nurture a child’s unique intelligence. She helps the reader to identify and guide the God-given ways kids (and adults) are smart. Some of these are used efficiently in school, but others are not. Some kids are body smart and become athletes, some are picture or music smart and become art producers.

We all are smart in some way, and this new awareness has empowered me to be bold about bragging on the smarts I see in my grands and other kids.

I highly recommend the book, but the bigger point here is to consider how we look at our grands and their gifts and abilities. We mustn’t be quick to put them in certain categories, whether or not we post about it on social media. How they see the world and find their place in it is greatly influenced by so many factors, including their learning style and the special gifts, abilities and areas of intelligence that they’ve been given.

For me, this awareness has helped me give my grands freedom to be who they are meant to be.

As a grandparent I can help them by my encouragement—not just saying, “Good job,” but also telling them, “You were so smart to do it that way!” My praise has become more specific and more individualized. They feel smart, they grow smarter, and their smarts help us grow too. We learn from them even as they learn about themselves. Discovering their smarts also helps in character development, which is another benefit mentioned in the book.

Maybe you’ll want to get a copy of this book and read it, but at the very least, one smart next step for you would be to start learning more about what makes each of your grands special and unique. Talking about it with their parents and other people in their lives is another great idea. Then, find ways to use those insights to better love and encourage your grands. It’s such a joy and privilege.

Carolynn J. Scully is an award-winning poet and writes other works while caring for grandchildren, Abigail and Lincoln, after school. She has worked in women’s ministries for many years and enjoys speaking to women’s groups. She has been married to her husband, Patrick, for 47 years and lives in Forest City, Florida. Her book, Something Good Inside of Me: A Children’s Poetry Keepsake Journal, was written for her seven grandchildren and is available here.