Saturday, September 24, 2005

So You Think You've Got a Smart Kid?

Here's a pithy piece of wisdom on how to ruin a child, from Honore de Balzac:

"Owing to a good education and an excellent memory, I seemed cleverer than I really was; forthwith I looked down on other people. And those who, for their own purposes wishes to prove to me that I was possessed of extraordinary abilities, found me quite convinced on that head. Praise is the most insidious of all methods of treachery known to the world; and this is nowhere better understood than in Paris, where intriguing schemers know how to stifle every kind of talent at tis birth by heaping laurels on its cradle." ~The Country Doctor

I don't remember where I read or heard it, but somewhere I heard that one ought never to priase a child for accomplishments, but rather the character with which they accomplished that which was evidently within their reach. The child may succeed, or, struggle and fail in the accomplishing, but can still do so with great perseverance, honor and integrity. This is of course what we are all really after, oui?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

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3:25 PM  
Anonymous Heidi said...

I can relate to this. My folks praised my "native intelligence" nearly every day of my life, starting in early elementary. It soon turned into sad comments about how I wasn't meeting my vast potential.

and, what it did to my interior landscape, was to plant a weed of superiority based on nothing more than a high IQ score. Testing well does not equate to success, and working hard at anything, is much more honorable than "native intelligence" that isn't stretched or exercised.

9:58 AM  

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