So it’s been quite an interesting few days. Lots of online (and offline) conversations about gifted kids and parenting and the media and comediennes and poking fun and what it all really means. It’s a conversation that’s been had before and I’m sure it’ll come up again and again and again. The conversation will continue until it’s understood and accepted that people are born with different wiring and parents could no more push their kids to be gifted than push to change the color of their eyes (though if that were the case, my parents totes failed me because I would have loved to have had violet eyes…or deep green…maybe silver). My hope is that the parents raising gifted kids today will still have the energy to demand change when those gifted kids are raising gifted kids of their own…’cause no one messes with the grandkids, yo.
But a few thoughts before I return to bitching about Chicago’s cold weather (get with the program, it’s not October), or my lack of energy and whyohwhy (no, seriously, I really have been tested for everything), or what’s that smell (it’s always blamed on the dog).
I’m fully aware that the segment featured a comedienne hawking a satirical book on motherhood. I have no problem with this. My beef was, and still is, with the Today Show for bringing gifted children into it at al. There was no need to bring a segment of the population that often has to fight for appropriate academic interventions into a conversation about over-involved parenting. No, not every parent has a gifted child, but I know the kind of parent that is being discussed. For crissakes, I grew up and now live near the North Shore of Chicago…you know all those John Hughes movies? Yeah, there. I am well familiar with the kind of parent the author is poking fun at. But limit it to kale and gummy bears and fashion.
Some people thought I (and those who agreed with me) was over-reacting. I disagree. It was perpetuating the stereotype of a pushy parent convinced that her child is gifted and needs to be in the gifted program, to the detriment of parents who are seriously trying to get academic interventions for their kid. So when a parent of a gifted kid tries to get help, they are only seen as a pushy Tiger Mom. This happened to me and my son. When we first moved to Illinois, he was denied gifted services because of his test scores, despite having been in a gifted program at his previous school and despite a lengthy and detailed report from the Gifted Development Center stating that his needs would best be served in a full-time gifted program. The school saw me as a pushy parent in an affluent district and denied the academic interventions my son needed. I was seen as one of “those” parents, and my son paid the price for the stereotype.
What I found with the discussion online is that parents of gifted kids have mostly been patient, straight-forward, and on topic. Comments back to them have pretty much been the same, with some notable and vile exceptions. I don’t understand why people with no skin in the game feel so passionately about gifted kids. Do they think that they don’t exist or don’t deserve the academic interventions they need? What is so intimidating about a child with wiring different from yours? Why is it so hard to see that maybe they are different than you? Not better, but different? Why does it disturb you that they need different educational options? Again, not better but different. I just keep coming back to willful ignorance. People just don’t want to know, don’t want to open their minds and hearts to something that is different or might change their minds. And that’s disappointing.
So to recap…gifted is. Keep the conversation going, and keep it civil. I’ll keep advocating for gifted kids and their parents, and I hope you join me.
It’s freezing in Chicago for May. Knock it off already, I’m sick of sweaters and slippers.
I’ve decided my sons are energy vampires and that’s why I’m so tired. Good thing they’re so cute. Also, I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome; pretty sure that has something to do with it.
Damned dog farted at me at least three times while writing this post. Had to choose between asphyxiation and hypothermia. Chose to breathe fumes. Gah.