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What is "Smart" ?

This article is by Tanuja Gayatri. She is a parent who believes in philosophy that empowers and encourages children to be self-reliant and independent. You can get a taste of her writing in this brilliant article.

What is "Smart" ?

The dictionary meaning of "Smart" is amusingly witty or mentally alert or bright !!

I feel the word "Smart" is the most misused word. We hear people saying for ex if one child bullies another , there are parents who feel if their child is a bully he/she is "smart" and they proudly announce it too. I have actually experienced this and I am sure most of you might have also experienced the same. The word smart is usually used for the following actions :-

When a person cheats another person. The cheater so called is the "smart" one
If a child copies in the exam he/she is smart
If a child/person butters/flatters people to get his work done then the said child/person is smart
If you win an argument or a fight he/she is smart
If you are naughty and gain people 's attention he /she is smart
If one person hurts another person , the person who hurts is smart
If one makes fun of others , he /she is smart
If one child beats another , the child who beats is the smart one since he is assumed to be powerful !!
If one person tell lies , he/she is smart
If one person is politically correct or diplomatic he/she is smart since they are considered expert language players !!The list goes on ....................
Elders send a wrong signal to the young child that he needs to indulge in above actions to be smart so the child continues to repeat wrong actions again and again without realising the consequence of it . The above actions no where fit into the definition of " smart " .
Today the world is experiencing lot of actions resulting from bad behaviour and the adverse effects of it on the society.It is hightime that the world really needs good people, peacemakers and healers !!
Today the world is highly competitive and the word "smart" is used widely everywhere and in everything around us.
The child at a young age apart from studies he/she is sent to many classes like singing , dancing, drawing , etc to make them smart. Lata Mangeshkar would not be Lata Mangeshkar , the nightingale of India, today, if she did not focus on one thing that is singing which is her passion.Sachin tendulkar would not be Sachin Tendulkar, the famous cricketer, if he too did not focus on cricket which is his passion.Imagine if their parents would have sent Lataji and sachin to different classes to make them smart , they would have lost focus on "what needs to be focused " and merely ended up in becoming a Jack of all trade, master of none. I request all the parents out there to find out what is their child passionate about and then put him/her in classes which will hone their passion and if no classes are available try to encourage them in the same direction by being part of it.
Even if parents send them to different classes just to enjoy and not to achieve something , the coaching classes are meant to reach their goals which is to make a student skillful or expert in that particular area so that the name and fame of their classes is maintained and also money keeps pouring in.Again this time the parents have not stressed the child but the coaching classes have stressed the child.With lot of reality shows coming up like Indian idol, Dance India Dance etc which promotes and encourages talent in the given area we have enough of singers, dancers etc.As the economic theory goes the more the supply , lesser is the demand and it may come at a point where it may lead to unemployment . We have enough of achievers in the world . Let us tap the untapped field and hone our unique passion and retain our unique value and identity.It will also save money that you spend in different classes which is not worth the money.Parents compel or force the children to attend different classes and the children may end up getting frustrated or reaching a saturation point. If they enjoy it nothing like it but if they are not interested and they don't enjoy , then the classes are not worth trying but only a waste of money.
I would mention a beautiful Quote here which says it all :-
"God opens millions of flowers without forcing the buds.It reminds us not to force anything, for things happen in the right time".
Parent should teach their child to compete with self and not with others.They should help them in improving themselves. They should consistently make them be better then what they were yesterday and that is enough. If you teach your child to be competitive with others , there is a high chance that it may lead to unfair competition and they may indulge in cheating and all unfair means just to win it . It may give rise to jealousiness towards other person.Our very business in life is not to get ahead of others but to get ahead of ourselves.

I asked my 10 year old son as to what does "Smart" meant to him . He replied - "Smart " means when I do things on my own i.e using my own brain , without taking anyone's help . I liked his answer especially for his age and not because he is my son !! His definition can be included in the true definition of "smart" because He meant that we need to be "Original" !!
My son had recitation exam where they had to memorise 8 poems. The teacher gave the choice to the students that they can recite anything they want to and the whole class except my son recited the same poem.My son recited a different poem and he did it very well. I asked my son why did he do so for which he said I wanted to do something different and difficult and he was confident that he knew it. In this case most of the people will say that all the students who recited the same poem are smart but I feel my son is smart because of his originality , copying is easy try something more challenging like being original then I think it fits in to the definition of "Smart" in true sense. My son if he wanted to could have easily repeated the same poem but he never did it and I am really proud of him for it.Even children who knew all the poems repeated the same poem like others because they too felt that this is the smart thing to do.At one point even the
teacher remarked that all of them are just repeating the same poem.

The term "Smart" in its true sense needs to be associated with the following actions as it is more challenging and not an easy task : -

Being original and not a stereotype
Being honest

Being strong , by lifting other people up and not by putting other people down.

Don't be a bully

Don't steal , cheat etc.

Don't keep pleasing everybody , be yourself.

Pass General jokes which will put a smile on everyone's face. Don't indulge in personal attack or taunting or passing sarcastic remarks.

Take risks whereever required and dare to face your fear and explore new things and so on ..........

I feel the word "Smart" should not be used in comparison.The other person who is not labelled as smart feels demotivated when actually he/she may be "Smart" too .Individually you use the word "Smart" in the right context to motivate your children Even Smart people sometimes do foolish things and even dumb people sometimes do "smart" things !! It is very important that the word "Smart" should be used for the right action in case we use it !! I feel there is nothing called as "Smart" and "Dumb" as we are all learners in the learning process called " Life" and the difference between the speed of learning, learning styles, nature of the person and many other factors make a person either learn things faster or slower but eventually all of us learn what we wish to learn or /and what we are supposed to learn as it is rightly said "Where there is will there is way" and Life is the best teacher.