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:
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!