I remember the first time I realized you could be smart doing something besides schoolwork. I was about 7 years old and my family was camping in Northwest California. We had just picked a campsite and my Dad was starting to set up the pop-up trailer. He was struggling to get the camper to sit straight and I suggested he use a bottle of water as a level.
I will never forget the look in my father’s eyes. It said: “Why didn’t I think of that?
My daughter is so smart!” And I will never forget how proud I felt when he put that water bottle on top of the camper and adjusted the jacks so it sat straight.
I wonder now if it would be possible for a kid to show smarts in that way in a school setting. And I wonder what a teacher could do to help her kids see they are smart, like my Dad did, without grades – without even saying a thing. What a lasting impact that kind of teaching and learning would have.