A few years ago I was at a school seeing if it was a good fit for my son after our move, and I had a conversation with one of the older kids:
Me: “Hey. How are you?”
Kid: “Not so good. I’m stupid.”
Me: “I don’t believe that.”
The boy explains how he forgot something.
I shared with him that I forget stuff too, and that there’s 7 different types of intelligence. He became quite curious about what I’d say next.
After exchanging more comments, his energy became larger and more positive.
Then he and my son started a conversation talking about a favorite game they have in common. This other boy was obviously very good at that game (he almost finished it).
I point out that perhaps the kind of “smartness” he has is related to how well he can play video games…
And that kind of intelligence will be very useful to him in other parts of his life, even if he doesn’t know how that is yet.
Then I said:
“Never believe anybody who says you’re ‘stupid’… not even if it’s you telling it to yourself. Don’t believe it.”
Eventually the kid got dragged off to recess and lunch, but the off-handed comment over his shoulder made it all worth it…
“Thanks for the advice!” he said, much renewed and with a beaming smile.