A little advice about giftedness
“It must be nice,” she said to me, “to have a gifted child. You don’t have to worry about all this.” *
My friend meant well, of course. Our kindergartners were in the same class, and she worried as her daughter struggled with learning her letters and basic reading, while my son was flying through upper elementary chapter books.
That was the first time gifted = easy was thrown at me.
“Something I’ve discovered, in my many years of teaching kindergarten, is that parents with four and five kids just don’t bother teaching their youngest ones to read, because they know they’ll learn it in school and then that way the kid isn’t bored in class.” **
That was the first time gifted = pushy parents was aimed at my head.
“How can he possibly be gifted? He can’t sit still for longer than a couple of minutes!” ***
That was the first time gifted = sit down and behave was shoved into my chest.
In the twelve years since I first heard those three gifted myths I’ve heard so many more, each one more head-shaking than the last.
Gifted isn’t any of that. Gifted isn’t easy, it isn’t pushy parents, and it sure isn’t a calm demeanor with high test scores. Oh, if only they knew.
If you work with a gifted kid, whether as a teacher or coach or mentor or leader or in any role whatsoever, pull up a chair. Imma fill you in on a few things.
That kid, that challenging, complex, irritating, frustrating, fascinating, amazing kid in front of you? Is…a kid. A person. An individual with psycho-neurological wiring that is likely very different from anything you’ve ever encountered before. A creature who, like you, is a lifelong resident of this lonely rock out in the vast emptiness of space. They are not a data point on a graph, not a problem to solve, not the vast reams of paperwork required to get the academic accommodations they require. I will relent and agree that they very likely are responsible for the ibuprofen and wine consumption by their parents, but I can neither confirm nor deny that I know this from personal experience. Heh.
They are curious, and often have a hard time corralling that curiosity. That doesn’t mean they are bad, or wrong, or rude. They can have challenges that minimize or even hide the giftedness, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t gifted, or have to prove their giftedness, or must “fix” the challenges before getting the learning for which they thirst. They are amazing, and when you reach through to the humanity in front of you and meet them where they are, magic happens. Lemme repeat that for the folks in the back:
When you reach through to the humanity in front of you and meet them where they are, magic happens.
What are you waiting for?
*I just looked at her and thought, “It ain’t all sunshine and roses, babe.”
** I still consider it a miracle that I didn’t flip my shit on the teacher.
*** Huh. Didn’t know that ants in the pants prevented intelligence.
Today’s post is part of the October Hoagies’ blog hop.