Tonight I will heading off to my children’s school awards night to celebrate two of them receive awards for “academic excellence”. I am of course proud of their achievements and am happy to tell them so. I sense that the end of school awards season is a tad unsavoury for many parents (not sure the kids think about it as much) and an important point must be discussed. The distinction between SMART and ACADEMIC.

It is a conversation I have with many parents all year round, but never more so than at the end of the year.

Many parents, and a number of children, are self-effacing and proclaim they are not smart enough to be an award recipient. This is simply not true, in my opinion at least, and does them an injustice that is all too often bought into by others.

Most children are smart aka clever, shrewd, intelligent or bright. Academics is another concept entirely. It is more of a personality trait that shows a child can conform to a prescribed set of rules and behaviours. Their discipline is shown in their attitude and methodologies which allows them to achieve at a high standard, a standard determined by the education system.

An academic child is not necessarily the smartest child.  More importantly, a non-academic child is NOT unintelligent, in my experience rarely is this the case.

So along with my congratulations for their achievement, my children receive the repeated message that it was their diligence and self-motivation toward tasks that played a far greater part in them securing an award than their intelligence.

Hopefully this will see them growing and maturing with the core belief that hard work and dedication can, and will, take them much further than just reliance on their “grey matter”.