Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Intelligence: A Stumbling Block?

Can intelligence get in the way of parenting? While occupied with children the parent has to turn off his mind to some to degree from his own intellectual pursuits.

On the weekend I wake up at 5:00 and go downstairs and learn until my wife and children wake up at 7:00. I cherish this time alone. I spend these two hours exercising my brain since I know that I will have to turn it off once the children are up. I have found that taking this time to myself helps me be more fully devoted to my family during the course of the day.

Recently I have been thinking about how people more intelligent than myself deal with this issue. I am by no means a great intellect, far from it. I graduated from college with a 2.67 grade point average.

There are plenty of very intelligent people with advanced degrees and small children at home. I wonder if it is more difficult for them to "put there brain aside" when dealing with their children. I wonder if intelligence to some degree can be a stumbling block.

Too much intelligence is not good. It makes one over think even the most trivial decisions and does not allow one to live in the moment. Too little intelligence can potentially be dangerous.

Exactly where is the line?

Like most things, I think the answer is somewhere in the grey zone.


At February 23, 2005 at 7:50:00 AM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

simple jew i have to disagree with you here! too much intelligence like anthing else can be good and even viewed as a gift and challenge from hashem. But the individual has to be more careful to use his intelligence with humility, (never arrogance) to better the world.

At February 23, 2005 at 7:52:00 AM EST, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Good point.

Remember, I am just a simple Jew. Sometimes I have "simple" thoughts ;)

At February 23, 2005 at 9:06:00 AM EST, Blogger torontopearl said...

Yes, I agree it's how you use your gift of intelligence that makes for whether or not you're using it "wisely."

The most intelligent people can be the worst parents, and vice versa. I think that there is no rule nor rhyme to the matter.

Distractions appear out of nowhere, not necessarily out of one's need to find an answer to a "she'ela" or need to configure an accounting problem while trying to change a child's diaper.

There is a difference between intelligent thinking and logic/practical thinking. Parenting requires that one adhere to both those areas.

A member of MENSA does not necessarily make a good parent, nor does a kollel learner.

At February 23, 2005 at 10:30:00 AM EST, Blogger Josh said...

Learning from 5:00 am to 7:00 am is quite an avodah! 'skoich!

What are you learning?

At February 23, 2005 at 11:24:00 AM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think a parent has to turn of their mind when dealing with will your children learn to develop a love for learning? Everything needs to be tempered with love and joy and covered in prayer! Also, as they grow up seeing you pursue intellectual areas they may be drawn to that, also. Parenting children is more "caught than taught." Anonymous #2 :)

At February 23, 2005 at 12:58:00 PM EST, Blogger Jen said...

What a great discussion you've raised!

In my opinion, the most important things to possess in order to be a good parent are lots of love and patience. Of course, I am not a parent, so I am only guessing-- intelligently. hahaha

If you love your child, you will educate yourself to know what is best for the child. You are your child's first teacher. That is a great responsibility. I've heard it said from many a grownup that it was because their parents were intellectuals that they themselves became intellectuals. When a child sees a parent study, he or she is encouraged to develop that habit. (It is that Japanese educational culture thingy, I suppose, in a way.)

And without patience, one is probably doomed to fail as a parent.

At February 23, 2005 at 3:53:00 PM EST, Anonymous Sarah said...

I cannot answer from experience, as I do not have children, but I can tell you that one of the best sets of parents I know, friends of mine, are both geniuses -- literally. Eligible to join MENSA.

Thank God, they also have a LOT of patience. Like you, they act one way with their kids, and fulfill their intellectual needs when the children are sleeping.

At February 23, 2005 at 5:57:00 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think whats most difficult is when the child is different in his nature from the parent. As an example a smart and intelletual parent has a child who is slower and does not share his interests The father can learn for long periods, but the son can't. In such cases especially, parents have to be careful to bring out the best in their children and praise them for who they are.

At February 23, 2005 at 6:14:00 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Anon #3, that is where recognizing the 'bent' in each of your children comes in. Guiding them, not forcing them, into something that isn't 'them.'

This has been a great discussion!
Anonymous #2 C

At February 23, 2005 at 6:33:00 PM EST, Blogger Wickwire said...

Children know more than we give them credit for. I am always amazed.

At March 1, 2005 at 10:45:00 AM EST, Blogger Alice said...

I think it's a problem if intellectual reasoning gets in the way of humanity, sensitivity and more instinctive things that matter so much to children. But that doesn't have to happen.


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