The Smartest Man

As expected, my professor led off a discussion of Gardner's Multiple Intelligences with the simple question: What does it mean to be intelligent?  Whom, in your opinion, exemplifies the trait?

The responses were greatly varied, but had an almost-universal common element:

  • "Attention to detail: my dad can tell you the license number on the car he rented last week.  He has an incredible recall of facts."

  • "An ability to solve problems: you can go to my father with any problem -- a problem with the car, a problem with a co-worker -- and he'll be able to figure out a solution.  It's amazing."

  • "Open-mindedness. My dad is incredibly smart, but he always listens to everyone's point of view and lets them know he understands them.  He's very reasonable when dealing with other people."

It was touching to see a roomful of brash twentysomething professionals speak so openly about their admiration for their fathers.  And although I didn't contribute to this particular discussion (truth be known: I walked in late) there's no doubt in my mind that my father is, more so than any of theirs, the very definition of intelligence.  And a lot of other great things.