how to raise a genius

June 4th, 2012

The only real valuable thing is intuition. — Einstein

Shortly after my baby was born someone gave me a piece of transcendently wise parenting advice. “Never withhold applause.”

I just remembered that a few minutes ago, so you know what I’ve been withholding.

This is the last week of my daughter’s sixth grade year. When you get to sixth grade and beyond, when the chase is on, the race is engaged, the hammer comes down and the fun runs out, it’s easy to become confused about what you’re dealing with. To forget who you are and what you already know how to do. To overlook how our children come to us: how mysteriously intelligent and immense with intuitive potential.

And so here’s what you do. Promise me you won’t read any more posts entitled How to Raise a Genius, and I promise that I won’t write any. Let’s turn our gaze instead on the one true light in our lives, see their fragile beauty, the slender remnant of shine, the untested greatness, and applaud, applaud, applaud.

Absolutely brilliant.

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  1. I think about this a lot and always choose to applaud despite what the “experts” say … I’m a clapper and a way to go-er. Good luck to Gigi as she enters 7th!

    Comment by Shawn — June 4, 2012 @ 7:07 am

  2. being at the end of my rope, I returned to reread your wisdom, only to find: In raising a genius, (should I come to the end of my rope), I should try applause….well, this is my take on the sequence of personal events, so I shall.

    Comment by mj — June 4, 2012 @ 7:11 am

  3. Great advice, Maezen! My son gave a speech at his middle school graduation the other day. He quoted someone who said, “If you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and continue.” Yep. Applause and pats on the back (including ones for yourselves, parents) are the way to go.

    xo Robin
    PS: Sorry to miss your visit to the Bay Area. My son was graduating! 🙂

    Comment by Robin — June 4, 2012 @ 11:06 am

  4. Brilliant, yes. And so are you. I come here to be refreshed, and you don’t let me down. Thanks for this!

    Comment by Katrina Kenison — June 4, 2012 @ 5:50 pm

  5. Growing a child you soon realize (my daughter is 14) that in all the muck, and the daily bogginess, that you aren’t. They are growing themselves. We are still only raising OURselves. Im just now growing back into my intuition, I had lost it somewhere along the way. And the letting go and accepting what is comes as sunbeams from the sky. Brilliant indeed like the first star we are all a part of. Intimately Separate. Ethereally Connected. Thank you Karen.

    Comment by Liz — June 4, 2012 @ 7:46 pm

  6. you are briliant. i clicked through bc it did not sound like a post you would write. this… this did.

    i look, touch, hold my 5 year old twins somedays, when i remember to breath around them. i marvel at the fineness of their physical bodies. i think about kinder, 6th grade, college… their lives.

    i love this reminder that they too are brilliant in themselves, wholly as they are. and i… i guess i am too.

    i would like to hug you someday, then sit and learn from you. someday.

    Comment by amiee — June 4, 2012 @ 8:09 pm

  7. Karen! I absolutely love you. I am reading Zenmomma and I am so heartened by your journey and I love how much it illuminates my own unsaid feelings and experiences. When I saw the title of this post showing up on my blogroll, I knew instantly that it was an invitation to shed that urge within to push and push our little ones and ourselves. Thanks!!

    Comment by aarathi — June 4, 2012 @ 10:57 pm

  8. Brilliant! Reminds me of the days when my daughter was a toddler and would say, “Clap for me, Mommy,” after her latest achievement! Applause for you! XO

    Comment by kasey — June 5, 2012 @ 4:17 am

  9. Thank you so much for the reminder! Sometimes I get all mucked up with stuff. I get annoyed with things like School awards and keeping up with the Joneses.

    Comment by Elaine — June 5, 2012 @ 9:38 am

  10. Thanks for the reminder. It’s so easy to get wrapped up I the grades and the lessons and the classes. It’s much harder sometimes to just sit back at marvel at these amazing creatures. Thank you.

    Comment by Diamond Cambareri — June 5, 2012 @ 12:33 pm

  11. 🙂

    Comment by Lin — June 5, 2012 @ 1:41 pm

  12. In a blog post or a book chapter, you wrote that there is no such thing as constructive criticism. I don’t know if that is totally true, but either way, reminding myself of that line daily has made me a better mom. My delight in my boys will serve them greater than any advice.

    Comment by Deirdre — June 5, 2012 @ 10:45 pm

  13. honestly, so often i find myself giving criticism, correction, re-direction and it’s such a tiresome burden. applause is light and yes! and love all rolled into one. we need more of that every day. thank you.

    Comment by mindy — June 6, 2012 @ 1:59 am

  14. Thank you. I promise.

    Comment by Nichole — June 8, 2012 @ 5:44 am

  15. Absolutely genius.

    Comment by Kristie — June 13, 2012 @ 6:19 pm

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