May 12, 2009

Do You Hide Your Mental Light Under a Basket or Do You Let It Shine?

My brilliant friend sent me a funny video of a smart kid who wins a spelling bee being treated by news hosts as a freakazoid. My friend admitted to being both a brilliant kid--like that boy--and having to hide his brilliance.

I thought about it and realized I was always a mental show-off—I was in spelling bees and math competitions, and proud of it. Plus, I knew that no matter how smart I thought I was or anyone said I was, my sister who is two years older, is smarter still. It helps to be around those who are better, faster, and stronger than we are. Our five-year-old, as an only-child, doesn’t have that humility reinforcement and is convinced she’s a genius. Instead, she comes across as a bit of an annoying know-it-all. Luckily, she’s in a hip-funky-artsy school, so at least gets her creative jollies out.

But one wonders what would have happened to folks like us if we’d been more encouraged to use our smarts at an early age.

Here's the smart kid as freak clip.

That Today Now! show is a spoof from The Onion, the fake news company. I’ve loved The Onion’s books for years, now, but can’t leave them lying around where our kid might get a hold of them (“Mommy, what is a chicken-shit asteroid?”)

The Onion

A similar fake news source that’s popular is on HuffPost, called 23/6. The Onion and 23/6 both work by exposing uncomfortable truths, tarted up as humor. Exposure is a good thing.

Have you ever felt like you had to hide your intelligence? To be liked, to fit in?

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