there are linkages between book smart and street smart, at times those linkages are the only thing necessary for someone to be street smart. Let me explain. To be book smart, you have to prove that you are one. You have to go to the apex, be competent, be examined, and pass the examination.
Nothing short of that will work. To be street smart however, you do not necessarily have to cram everything and know everything. What you need is a working knowledge of something that you can apply in life. The idea is not to be right, but to be functional. This is where improvising and resourcefulness come in.
We all want our children to excel in life in one way or another. At times we think that it is a black and white kind of setup. We think that they have to be the best book smart people this world has ever seen in order for them to excel. We also think that if they are not the best book smart people this world has ever seen, then their success goose in life is cooked.
Nothing can be further from the truth. At some level, it is the grey areas in life that can cause us to be successful. This is where being street smart comes in. It means to take what works, use it in application to life, and make something out of it. You do not need to know everything about agriculture to be a successful farmer…but I am going ahead of myself.
As I write this, I am reminded of a boy several years ago while I was in primary school. This young man made it to the papers. The local dailies reported his exploits in school. We all stood amazed. The boy seemed to be a genius, and he spent a few months in class before being promoted to the next.
The whole nation was in awe of this boy because our consciousness at that moment was that to be book smart means success. I guarantee you that very few people if any, ever considered street smart as important. Several years down the line, the boy is not a phenomenon as the country would have imagined. I believe a reporter tracked him down a few years ago. His story is not of an Einstein or anything like that.
In raising street smart children, we have to realize the importance of that grey area of life. That which is unexamined, “unDegreed or unDipomad”, but is still a critical part of knowledge that can be used in life. Very many folks who are book smart these days are asking the importance of Chemistry, Physics, and Biology that they took in school, among many other subjects.
In order to raise street smart children the following aspects of life need to be emphasized:
Street smart people are big on the application of theory. Book smart people (and I know I will be called out on this), are big on the acquisition, storage, and boasting of knowledge they have. To be street smart, one has to realize that it is not the quantity of the information that they have that matters.
One can even say that it is not the quality of the information that you have that matters. Rather, it is the application of any bit of information or knowledge that you have that makes you street smart. There is no point in having all the information in the world if you cannot convert it into something useful.
That being said, to be street smart, one has to leverage the rudimentary data that is available from the book smart world. There are may be two important areas of that knowledge that one needs to focus on.
That was deliberate. If I had said “Mathematics”, I would have lost some people. A street smart person must be adept at the manipulation of numbers relating to things around them to their advantage. The world around a street smart person is governed by numbers.
There is no way you are becoming street smart if you do not take stock of what is around you and interpret that knowledge to your advantage. That is why basic Mathematics is important to note. I think every street smart person must have a working knowledge of Microsoft Excel.
As already mentioned, people will start declassifying themselves away from this. “I am not an accountant”, someone would say. However, to be street smart, you do not need to be a qualified accountant, knowing how to balance books and carry out audits.
Your world will be filled with things that need accounting. Assets and liabilities. Expenses and income. One needs to have a distinct working knowledge of these four basic economic terms for they apply to an individual in equal measure as they apply to an organization or a country.
Therefore, if you are raising a street smart child, at least let them be exposed to these gray areas of life. Let them be connected to the interpretation of the book smart world into the street smart life. Let them start interpreting the world using their book smart knowledge immediately and to crown it all, let them start using the little book smart knowledge they have to apply it in life.