You know how, in the winter, you’re outside playing in the snow on a sunny day and you gradually become accustomed to the sharp brightness? And then someone joins you, and they stumble around for awhile, snow blind, until they give up and go back inside? And you’re all, “What? It isn’t that bright out here! It’s fine, nothing to it, this is just how it is!” And they tell you, “Dude, you have any idea how bright it is out there? I don’t know how to tell you, but it’s really really blinding out there and boy, I don’t know how you do it.”
I need to remember this in relation to A’s giftedness.
It’s Gifted Week at the House of Chaos! Last night Tom and I had our weekly twice-exceptional parenting meeting (which we love), tonight I’m attending a presentation on the emotional well-being of gifted kids, then tomorrow night our last 2e meeting. All this unusual weeknight activity left us without a sitter for the boys, so I had to hunt around for a new one. A grandma in the area watches kids, she was available, she was hired. She even helped A with some of his homework; I should have offered her hazard pay.
We got home and when I asked how the boys were, she said they were fine…then hesitated.
“I helped A with his homework probably more than I should have (I assured her that was ok). But…(and she was having a hard time putting this into words)…he’s really bright, brilliant, probably smarter than me.” I could tell she was trying to say gifted without saying it, and I explained to her in 30 seconds or less what his situation was, with a side dish of 2e.
She had never met him before last night. I hear this so often from people who meet A for the first time and talk to him for longer than five minutes. He’s so bright! Yes, yes he is, and I forget that. I don’t see it anymore. It’s just who he is, and I don’t spend a lot of time with other kids his age other than volunteering in the classroom every other week. I no longer see the gift of giftedness, but only see the difficulties of twice-exceptionalities.
It’s been a hard few days with A and school, and I know it’s going to get much MUCH harder after Thanksgiving when his best friend is no longer there. I am so afraid of losing his spirit, and his thirst for learning is already starting to dry up. He is the smartest child I know, and I see him giving up that side of him because of school. Do this, not that. Here’s a page crammed full of math problems…go! Yup, writing is hard, we’ll make some accommodations for you, but you must copy this off the board (sorry the vision therapy hasn’t caught up yet to make this quick and easy for you) and if you don’t you must miss recess to catch up. Oh, and that busy work worksheet you didn’t finish? Take it home and complete it, please. Nevermind that you have the homework packet and a book report waiting for you there, as well as vision therapy and Cub Scouts and who needs downtime, anyway?
My heart breaks for him, and I know there are so many other families in the exact same boat. Our education system is not geared for outside the box thinkers, and outside the box thinkers are exactly what are needed in the outside world. I don’t know if I have it in me to homeschool him, but I can’t sacrifice his education for his schooling.
I know I’ll be reminded in the future of A’s giftedness, through the comments of others. They’re good to hear, because I do forget, or doubt, or ignore that part of him. I just don’t see it anymore, that’s simply how he is. But I hope to remember, through those comments, that there is a gifted person in there, buried beneath some of those challenges, and it’s my job to help him shine.