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May 12 2011

101 Success Secrets for Gifted Kids: An interview with Christine Fonseca

I am honored, blessed, lucky, pleased, delighted, and thesaurus-dependent to bring another interview with the awesome and inspiring Christine Fonseca. If you remember, last fall Christine was interviewed here for her book, Emotional Intensity, and today she is again my guest for her new book, 101 Success Secrets for Gifted Kids. Somehow I came up with more questions for her, and I’ll just let her take it from here.

 

 

1. So Christine, why an advice book for gifted kids? Was there something that sparked that interest or did you awaken in the night with EUREKA! on your lips?

The idea for 101 Success Secrets actually came from a conversation with my agent the very first time we talked about my writing. She asked whether or not I thought an advice book for kids would be good. Of course, I loved the idea. Afterwards, I talked with a couple of my GT mom friends and the format for 101 Success Secrets was born…at least partially. Once the new title was picked by my publisher I had to rethink the project. The essence, though, is exactly what I thought of one sunny day, sitting by the pool yapping with my GT buddies.

2. Since sending the book off into the world, have new advice tidbits come your way that you wished could be in the book?

I’m always receiving different pieces of advice from the kids I interact with and those who email me. Our GT kids really do have the answers to their life – most of the time they just don’t realize it! Once day, if I get enough new advice, maybe I’ll have to have a part 2 or something. Really, I’d like to branch out and do something similar for GT adults or other groups of people. (Me: Yes! Please!)

3. How do you hope parents and teachers use this book with their kids? How do you hope kids use this book?

By far the most exciting part of this book for me is hearing HOW parents and kids use the book. The best thing I heard was one parent who read the book cover-to-cover and then gave it to her son, along with post-it flags. She asked him to go through the book and mark those things that stood out to him. Afterwards they talked about what he found useful – and what she found useful. It was, apparently, a thoughtful and inspiring conversation. (Me: I need to do this with A.)

And that is what is so exciting to me – the conversations that are happening as a direct result of the book. What more could I ever want than for parents and kids to grow closer because of something I managed to put on the page? It is both humbling and amazing.

So, I guess what I really want is for this book to be the springboard for conversation – for parents, teachers and kids to use it in any way that makes sense and for them to come together and talk about things. That is my biggest wish.

4. How has penning two fantastic books about giftedness changed your perspective on gifted education?

To be honest, it hasn’t changed it but rather deepened my belief that we struggle to meet the needs of our GT population. That said, there are amazing examples of public schools that really do enhance the lives of our GT kids. And there are fabulous examples of homeschooling and non-traditional education that also meet kids’ needs.

While my opinions regarding gifted education have deepened, so have my opinions regarding the mental health profession in relationship to our GT kids. Every time I speak to groups of parents and educators I am asked about 2E kids and those who are likely NOT 2E but have been identified as such (yes, misidentification happens as often as non-identification). School psychologists and mental health professionals continue to be inadequately trained regarding what is “normal” within the context of giftedness and our kids suffer. They are over-diagnosed, misdiagnosed, and under-diagnosed. This is crazy to me as the research, albeit small, does exist. Yet, so few mental health professionals understand the complete dynamic of this population. How can you support and assist these kids if you don’t understand their needs?

In short, while I haven’t necessarily changed my views regarding education per se, writing the books did rekindle my passion for ensuring that GT kids are seen in a different light – one which sees their normal intensities as a blessing, not a curse.

5. And finally, my dear Christine, what is your Walter Mitty fantasy?

Ah, yes…my Walter Mitty fantasy. It usually involves an amazing agent, a huge book deal and the ability to lead the life I dream of – filled with writing, speaking, consulting and having enough time for all of it. Yep, a fantasy. But, who knows…right?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I always love the Walter Mitty question, it gets such great answers.

HEY! A giveaway! You, you, and you have the opportunity to win a copy of Christine’s new book, 101 Success Secrets for Gifted Kids! Ain’t you the lucky one. Here’s what you need to do. In the comments, leave a piece of advice you wish someone had given you growing up, or a piece of advice you would like to give to a gifted kid. Your choice. On Monday May 16th, as part of her blog tour, I will review Christine’s book and reveal the winnerwinnerchickendinner (to be determined by divining rod, Ouija board, and Random Number Generator). If you missed it, and it’s entirely possible you did because I dorked out and forgot to point it out, I was on Christine’s site last week sharing my advice for gifted kids. Go show her some love.

Many thanks to Christine for allowing me to interview her, and for her patience as I took forever to get questions to her. She is a wonderful person, I am proud to call her friend, and I can’t wait to actually meet her in real life someday.

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  1. Benoit

    Nice post ! How can this be different when two wonderful persons meet ?

    “be yourself and live your own life” is the advice i would i have received.

  2. Monica

    Awesome post Jenn! Those questions were fab and I loved reading Christine’s answers. 🙂 I’ll now have to read the book again with DS10 and do the post it note idea.
    Advice I wish someone would have given really is more of wishing that I was told I might have been gifted. It sure would have made me feel that I wasn’t an alien from another planet. If I had Christine’s book when I was a kid then perhaps I could have had an easier time dealing with my emotional intensity and other feels of lonliness. Thank you both! 🙂

  3. Nisa

    What a great interview!
    Nisa recently posted…Brierlys Lillies and MoreMy Profile

  4. Benoit

    @Monica : so true !!! I’ve also wished i was diagnosed when i was a kid…for the same reasons as you. Sigh.

  5. My Kids Mom

    I want my kids to know that the goal is to stretch your brain to learn new things- not to get good grades. I worry that they will get complacent with easy A’s, like I did. I didn’t learn to study until I went to college b/c I’d never had to do it before.
    My Kids Mom recently posted…decadeMy Profile

  6. linda

    What a great resource for my class! Thank you for offering it.
    The piece of advice I hope my students and my children learn (and that I would have loved to have been told when I was a child) is that it is a big, beautiful, wonderful world, and you are an important piece of it!

  7. Sunny

    I would tell them it’s about the learning not the grades. Start good habits early. Read, read read!

    Thanks for the interview and the giveaway!

  8. Paula H.

    I wish that I had had a mentor. I was good at everything, but loved art. I didn’t finish my art degree because I didn’t know what to do with it. I think that having someone with ideas would really have helped me out.

    1. Jen

      I wish that I’d had had a mentor too. Not in music, I had plenty of those, but almost a life mentor. I was so good at so many things, had so many interests, and went into music because I was good there and could. Now I have advanced degrees in music and haven’t touched my flute since October. I agree, these kids need mentors to help them sort out life!

  9. Angela

    Given that this whole GT thing is pretty new to me, I don’t even have any advice of any sorts. I guess if anything, I’d say, “just keep being an advocate for your child” GT or not, you have to fight the fight for these kids with struggles. 7 years of trying to get my son help might have finally paid off! I knew he didn’t fall into the *norm* just didn’t know how to get help, but year after year I kept trying and finally got a teacher to listen!

  10. Julie in KC

    I would advise parents and kids to find others in your shoes — other gifted families they can celebrate the challenges and successes with. For parents, having other parents that can relate to the challenges of raising gifted kids can help preserve their sanity. Parents of typical kids often just don’t or can’t understand. For kids, the social piece can be difficult at times, so they need to know that there are other kids out there like them that are just as intense, immature, bright, etc. And don’t forget to look online for additional resources — like this blog that helps me get through the tough days. (OK, does that make me too much of a ki** a**?!)

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