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Sooo, did I tell you about my amazing, gifted kids?

The gifted world went into over-drive last week, when a blogger on BabyCentre wrote a post entitled (rather provocatively) "I hate hearing about your gifted child", accompanied by this hysterical image:

gifted

If you read the post and then read roughly the first 30 or so of 380 (at last count) comments, the basic premise is that she doesn't like mum's with gifted kids (she hates the G word) talking about their gifted kids and she especially hates gifted kids because hers isn't. She then spends paragraphs explaining how nice her Violet is (of which I have no doubt and am very glad she is, because I'm not sure her mum is).

Many commenters agreed with her - those bloody parents of gifted kids - geez! Shut the *&^ up about your gifted kid's abilities, will you?

The post got out amongst the gifted community (as things do in this electronic world). Rebuking was swift, direct, and well written (as you would expect). I was already a fan of Jen at Laughing at Chaos, but I am close to adoration after her well-thought-out response. If you search hard, you can find my response in amongst the 223 comments.

But I have been mulling it over. And came up with my own provocative blog-post title. This blog is primarily about our homeschooling adventures, but the reason we homeschool is primarily giftedness. I'm saying it loud and I'm saying it proud. At the top of the blog, I have a static page about giftedness (although it is hidden a bit in my cryptic song title lyrics). My last post could not describe my children without saying "they are exceptionally gifted."  It is who they are. It helps define them and certainly explains a heck of a lot of sh*t! And it isn't meant to be "bragging".

Like many of the comment's on the original post, I too have felt that I could not be open about talking about my children's giftedness. If you are reading this blog, then I am assuming you either "get" giftedness or have an open mind. But out in the "real world", not everyone is like this. They assume:
  • I "push" my children and they are missing out on their childhood by reading large novels and doing higher level maths.
  • They will become socially inept Sheldon (from Big Bang Theory) clones.
  • They need "enrichment" not "acceleration".
  • Their "weaknesses" (and they do have them!) are more important than their gifts.
Generally, with people who aren't familiar with me or my children, I don't offer information about where they are up to academically voluntarily. I don't brag. But time and time again, I find myself telling those same people stuff about my kids. Why? Because they ask. They ask why Wombat Girl is reading the big fat Harry Potter in Yr 1. They ask if I taught Video Boy to read at home. They are astonished when Wombat Girl calculates the change in a shop before the cash register does. They are stunned when Video Boy opens his mouth and stuff about quantum mechanics comes out in everyday conversation. They want to know why we homeschooling. And they won't leave me be with a casual comment. They are like a dog with a bone, they ask and ask, because my children are different. 

They talk differently to other kids their age. They are interested in things that kids their age are not. They don't go to school, because school doesn't work for them. And I have to be able to explain all this different to them. Not bragging. Trying to explain the "not the same". And convince them I'm not ruining my children and turning them into some weirdo psychos.

And being gifted, dear Joyce Slayton, especially exceptionally gifted, as lots of the commenter's explained, is not all it's cracked up to be! There are tears, there are worries, there is over-thinking, there is perfectionism (and that's just me!). Damn, there are times I wish they were "just" above-average high-achievers. But then, they wouldn't be the same kids I love. Their exceptional ability and their intense personalities are who they are. 

Oh, and BTW, they are kind - so kind (too kind?). As if someone who was gifted couldn't be that too. 

And so, in closing (mmm...we have been doing too much "persuasive writing"!), I leave you with a more appropriate illustration:


Now I'm off to have that glass of wine!


Comments

  1. Thanks, I needed this. Between homeschooling and giftedness, I too am sick of all the questions.... Why aren't they at school? Is she "really" reading that book? blah...blah...blah... I never brag cos that would mean more questions!!! Ok, there's my rant for the day.
    Ingi, you'd do well on the Naplan tests with all this persuasive writing practice..hehehe :)

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    1. It's interest - but only because they are "different" and they don't get different. We have just signed up for Naplan (you can do it at home!) and so we are indeed practising our persuasive writing - gonna blow that Writing component out of the water this year!!). Thanks for your rant April :-)

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  2. I've been reading your blog for a while and I I just to thank you from the bottom of my heart for this post. You've made me realize that it's time for me to say it loud and proud as well. When people notice my son is advanced for his age, I always tone it down and reply that he's not Mozart gifted or anything like that. (Not the best response, I know.) The truth is that he IS gifted and that is the main reason I've decided to homeschool him as well. I find it really hard to talk about all the things he amazes me with without coming across as a bragger. The thing is, I do feel proud. He amazes and surprises me each day and he has been leading the way with his learning since the day he was born. So, hello from Quebec and thanks again for the nudge!

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    Replies
    1. Welcome Yanik from Quebec (oh, one day I would love to come visit!). I'm guilty of downplaying the gifted thing too - they are not prodigies, Einstein's, whatever. But they ARE amazing - aren't they? And yes, they totally lead the learning - not us pushing. So welcome to the club!

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    2. Thank you for the warm welcome !! I hope you do get a chance to visit one day. Perhaps we can give you a virtual tour in the meantime! ;-)

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  3. We love Sheldon!
    I don't know if my son is gifted or not.
    But geekiness is definitely held in high esteem at our house.

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    1. Geekiness is under-rated! I love the quote of Bill Gates - be nice to nerds, one day they'll be your boss (and do wonderful things for the world). :-)

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  4. You go girl!

    Me too re: can't go anywhere without comments, but we have been lucky...generally very supportive here : )

    It is hard to forgot those stereotypes that "gifted" = "pushy parents" and so avoid talking about the "g" factor...
    but we need to be bold, and own it so that our kids can own who they are too.

    Here is the one to really stir people up: "gifted kids" = "gifted parents" LOL

    Yours in gifted fuzziness, great post.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, kind Tracey! And YES - the idea that gifted kids get to accept themselves for what they are and be happy that they are smart - that is a great idea to embrace (and just quietly, much easier when we homeschool).

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  5. AHAHA! Mine (6yo) is definitely not gifted but he sure is geeky! He saw David Attenborough on the TV at a friend's place and declared: "That's David Attenborough! He's my friend! He tells me all about animals!" Well...that's NERD 101 passed.

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    Replies
    1. You've done well, my little Padiwan! Attenborough is the coolest!

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  6. On the "pushing" part...if only they know that we don't even have to push our GT kids, they do that all by themselves without us adding to their frustrations. When my GT(10) can't find the right words to start an essay, he huffs and puffs, and practically slaps his head as if that will help get the words out. That he says being gifted feels like a curse more than a "gift" and that he wishes that he can't understand "things" so he won't be bothered by them or so he won't care as much when he sees people doing bad things. That he wishes God did not make him "different" and that he wishes I can find other kids his age who he can talk about the same things we talk about. We are saddled with too many issues every day, we seriously do not even have time to go around bragging about their "accomplishments". But since it's acceptable to brag about how nice and kind kids are, yes he is GT but guess what? He is that and kind and nice, too. He was voted by his blended schooling peers as an "everyday kid hero" because he exhibits characteristics of such.

    If anything, I'm glad that orig "poster" wrote about her feelings against hearing about gifted kids. It really just brings out a lot of the reasons why we don't (and can't really) talk about our concerns/triumphs/challenges in the open in the first place. And they say we're elitist? Maybe we bond amongst ourselves because it is only when we come together that we get to vent and share without fear of being judged as "bragging". There's a lot of misconceptions and misunderstandings out there. If it's tough on us...just imagine on our kids?

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