We’ve known for years that our eldest is a smarty pants. What isn’t clear is just how long he’s actually known this about himself. My boy came home from school one day last week and asked me what a “nerd” is. He said a kid at school had said he was a nerd because he’s smart, and nerds are smart. I told him the next time someone says he’s a nerd becuase he’s smart, he should reply, “Don’t you know that it’s cool to be smart?” He smiled and let the discussion end at that, but I know he wasn’t completely satisfied because later on that evening he asked his dad what a nerd was, looking for a better explanation than I had given him. At his parent/teacher conference the other day, his teacher told me that she lets my son and a couple of other boys work on more advanced math at a special table while she teaches the rest of the class. She said that she and some other teachers like the saying, “There’s no substitute for gray matter.”
Just yesterday I was checking my son’s homework and I realized that not only does he know that he’s smart, but he is apparently quite comfortable with being so. The issue, it seems, is no longer convincing him that being smart is cool (regardless of name calling), but that humility is also an admirable trait!