made the case for the fact that if I was forced to choose between a street-smart child and a book smart child, I will obviously choose the street-smart child. I have to back up a little and say that I am not insinuating that a book smart child is not necessary.
Besides, there is so much information and systems that have already been built that will help a child to be book smart. All nations of the earth have made provisions, have set out funds, have built institutions, and have drafted constitutions to make sure that children are book smart.
However, a street-smart child is a rarity. And yet, today we need as many street-smart people as we can get. Large corporations are increasingly realizing that thee book-smart child is not necessarily the holy grail of performance. That is why they are not making it a requirement for their new employees to possess a university degree.
Things have changed but we see scores of people still stuck in the ways of the past. I am not in any way saying that we should stop preparing children to be book smart. All I am saying is that we need to give this aspect of being street smart a shout and shed some light on it.
Frankly, a very small percentage of what institutions teach helps a child to be street smart. You see, to be street smart, you have to do it, not read about it. You have to live it, not watch it on YouTube. It is sadly possible that one can be a great book smart but so blindsided when it comes to being street smart.
During the Covid19 lockdown season in Kenya, an education official issued a warning that anyone who was not a certified teacher found “teaching” children online to be book smart will be dealt with accordingly.
A defiant prominent citizen issued a rejoinder declaring that she was preparing to launch her online classes in History. The students, she warned would not pass the examination that the government will issue if they followed her teaching, but they would experience history from a different point of truth.
As a parent, I am interested in schooling my children to be street smart. I have been a book worm and actually been labeled very many times as an “intellectual”, even though I do not have the certificates to prove that. I know what works and what doesn’t from my own experiences and from my own convictions thereof.
To train a child to be street smart, the child has to be taught how to survive. Survival is what has made the human species, perhaps one of the weakest of mammals to take charge while other species are becoming extinct.
Survival teaches you that merit is not necessarily what counts. It is mental toughness, resourcefulness, courage and boldness, and other factors that come in play. Unfortunately, these are not things that you can teach in school well enough to be grasped.
That is why you see some scores of people trying to come up with “Holiday Programs” for children to mitigate the book worm studies. Well, what happens during the lockdowns now?
Everything is connected to everything and no man is an island. Perhaps the greatest pillar embodied by a street-smart life is the pillar of relationships. Jim Farley, already mentioned in the previous article was not book smart. However, through mastery of this pillar, he was able to put a president in the White House of the United States.
You can be book smart all you want but if you will not learn and grow to be people-smart, your chances of success in the streets are greatly diminished. Granted, I am aware that the institution that leads to book smartness is not necessarily isolated. In other words, some level of relationship smartness can be forged through the system.
However, for a street-smart solution, relationships have to be considered as an integral part of development and success. Therefore, teaching people relational skills and being relational is important than teaching everyone what mitochondria is. I kid you not.
There is a book that I would make compulsory for everyone in my house to read. It is a book published in 1936, a best seller. “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie. Frankly, I would rather that my child understands all the aspects and principles touted therein than to cram some Biological terms.
If I was to pick between a book smart person and one who is people-smart, I will pick the people-smart person first. Why? Because the aspects of book smart can always be trained and mastered over time. The aspect of people-smart is readily needed in most cases in life.
Therefore, to raise a street-smart child, teach them the pillar of relationships. I can demonstrate this theory by asking you to look at your life. Consider all the achievements you have had in life. What percentage of those achievements are attributed to you being book smart? And what percentage is attributed to you being people-smart?
You know the answer. Let us translate that answer in raising up the next generation.