LC’s Commentary

Listen To The Voice of Reason

Just how smart are you?

One often hear people talking about smart today’s youngsters are.  Many people say that they are much smarter than prior generations.  Not being one to accept this assertion as very factual, I started watching their behavior for signs that they were indeed smarter than prior generations.   Webster defines the word smart to mean well dressed, neat, tidy elegant, well groomed or chic.  Look around. Does the word smart apply to you, if you are a youngster or to your child if you are a parent?  Drive by almost any school and see what the children are wearing. It looks more like a fashion or freak show rather than a school campus. Many schools have dress codes. However, a majority of our school system administrators are not willing to face the wrath of the students or their parents if they attempt to institute or enforce some kind of applicable dress code.  Entirely too many parents and their children see the way the kids dress as some kind of self-expression. Of course, that is wrong. The ways they dress are expressions of their conforming to what they see on television and in videos.


If we use the word smart as a synonym for the word intelligence, we must use a different approach to the subject matter. Intelligence means brainpower, aptitude, brains, acumen etc. Take the word brains-it means among other things, common sense. Aptitude means ability, talent, and skill. Acumen means good judgment, wisdom, and insight.  Wisdom means understanding knowledge and perception.  Perception means the ability to discern and observe.  Discern means the ability to distinguish, detect, tell the difference, discriminate, recognize, differentiate or detect.


Of all the words I defined, discern carries the most weight when we discuss how smart our children are. Please explain to me how they are using good judgment when they drop out of school. While you are at it, explain how they are using good judgment when they constantly disrespect themselves and all they meet. Is calling women bitches and whores indications of the ability to discern what are acceptable and unacceptable ways of referring to women? Is dropping out of school an indication of the ability to recognize the pitfalls of not getting an adequate education?  How does running out and buying almost thing that the Rap and Hip Hop culture promotes indicate the ability to discern the difference between what is good and what is bad?    I am waiting for some kind of sign that they are able to tell the difference between right and wrong, good and bad and correct and incorrect.


Children, start behaving in a manner that deserves the support of those who think that you are indeed smart. Let them observe you behaving in a manner the support their contention that you are smart. Under the surface, some may be thinking that you are smart, but are too lazy to use your smartness in the correct way.  There may be the feeling that that old fogies like me do not deserve what we ask of you. What we ask of you is not for us old folks, it is for you.  We have lived our lives and have gone through many trials and tribulations that you have yet to experience. Do not take what we say without due consideration. Even a fool can give you some good advice. 

 Copyright 2006
This commentary written by L.C. Thornton, for The Peoples Voice Black Weekly News
To reprint ONLY WITH PERMISSION contact:
L.C. Thornton at


January 15, 2007 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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