Social U.

{March 13, 2009}   Intelligence


          Getting my midterm test back, I opted against opening the booklet’s outer blue covering to reveal the red-pin grade that I received on the test. Hoping that it was good, but knowing that it wasn’t, I sat with its blue discomfort right in front of me.

          When I opened the booklet’s flimsy covering my doubts were confirmed, only a million times worse. Never have I done so poorly on a test in my life. Thus, I was left to sit through the rest of the class period void of all traces of intelligence and quiet.

          And at this point is where my question began: what makes a person smart?

          Is it one’s comprehension of book smarts or street skills? Is it one’s ability to cope in different social settings, or the quick-wittiness of critical thinking skills in desperate times?

          Opening up my test booklet made me question my level of intelligence. Am I simply someone who just isn’t smart, coasting through life on inter-personal skills and a friendly demeanor? Because, according to this test, a life of college-related smarts just isn’t for me – or at least doesn’t come naturally.

          Being a woman of faith, I like to believe that God will get me to where I need to be when I’m supposed to be there, but what if that’s not how things work? What if, like intelligence, you either have a knack for knowledge or you don’t.

          And, this left me with a sad realization – I’m not a smart person. I actually don’t exactly know what type of person I am. So, in my search to understand myself better I went to friends and asked them whether or not they saw themselves as being smart.

          Every person I asked responded that they viewed themselves as smart. But how can this be? Does this self-confidence in one’s intelligence originate from an acceptance of one’s limitations and gifts?

          Perhaps truly smart people are those of us who have the knowledge to try? Those people who don’t get every book-related concept, but know that getting an ‘A’ requires studying, doing homework, and asking questions?

          I don’t really know, but I do know this: I try hard and have a desire for success. Maybe it’s okay that I don’t have all of the book smarts, or street smarts for that matter.

          Maybe true intelligence begins with humility, and with a gentle spirit that allows the seeker to learn from others thus creating a better self.

          Exodus 31:3 says “And I have filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom and ability, in understanding and intelligence, and in knowledge, and in all kinds of craftsmanship.”

          This is a beautiful scripture, and I like to believe what it says, but if everyone is created with intelligence then what is the point of a test (that is a hypothetical question)?

          I still don’t know, but I’d appreciate your comments so that I can better shape my own understanding of ‘intelligence’ and what it means to be a smart person to you. Maybe you can help me get my ‘intelligence’ back. J


In Confidence,




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