practical intelligence includes things like “knowing what to say to whom, knowing when to say it, and knowing how to say it for maximum effect.” It is procedural: it is about knowing how to do something without necessarily knowing why you know it or being able to explain it. It’s practical in nature: that is, it’s not knowledge for its own sake. It’s knowledge that helps you read situations correctly and get what you want. And, critically, it is a kind of intelligence separate from the sort of analytical ability measured by IQ. To use the technical term, general intelligence and practical...
But social savvy is knowledge. It’s a set of skills that have to be learned. It has to come from somewhere, and the place where we seem to get these kinds of attitudes and skills is from our families.
The wealthier parents were heavily involved in their children’s free time, shuttling them from one activity to the next, quizzing them about their teachers and coaches and teammates. One of the well-off children Lareau followed played on a baseball team, two soccer teams, a swim team, and a basketball team in the summer, as well as playing in an orchestra and taking piano lessons. That kind of intensive scheduling was almost entirely absent from the lives of the poor
Poor parents tend to follow, by contrast, a strategy of “accomplishment of natural growth.” They see as their responsibility to care for their children but to let them grow and develop on their own.