The label hasn't found me any extra hours in my day, but it has left me feeling like an underachiever since high school.
Most don't understand
In my experience, most people don't understand giftedness. They either perceive it as a sign of exceptional intelligence, which marks their children out as "special," or they are fearful and jealous of it. As an adult, my giftedness reveals itself in the ways in which I am capable of carrying out tasks and activities in diverse areas, and in the ways in which I am fortunate to be respected for my ideas and my thinking. Yet I very rarely reveal to other adults that I was once labelled gifted.
I have a child who may be gifted. She has not been tested, nor will she be. I know that testing her may run the risk of negatively affecting her self-esteem. She is a happy child, with many friends and a supportive family. I don't need the world or her teachers to know that she is gifted. I need only for her to grow, and explore her world, and negotiate the asynchronicity between her intelligence and emotional levels.
Words of experience
Did you ever wonder what it would be like to raise 6 gifted children? My husband and I did just that. In fact we still are doing it. Our 6 children range in age from 14 to 30. Four boys followed by two girls. Our youngest is in grade 9. On paper they sound amazing; but it's what's inside that counts.
Things I learned along the way:
Never cancel gym. It is the most important subject of the day next to recess.
Gifted doesn't mean enjoys doing homework.
Dinner table conversations are more likely about poop than the origins of the universe.
An invitation to a party is more important than an A.
If gifted is the top 2 percentile, then those at the 98th percentile are gifttards.
Every parent wants their child identified gifted, but definitely not smart weird. It's all in the name.
If you want your child to succeed here's what you need to know:
Eat dinner as a family and talk, even if it's about poop.
Get the kids involved in sports; that way they come home too tired to fight.
All children must play piano and they can't quit until they get to grade 5. By then the pieces are so nice that they keep playing.
Put report cards on the fridge. They must be proud of them - even the poor ones.
Access the gifted program in your neighbourhood. If they were hard of hearing you'd never consider not accessing that program.
Remind them that being gifted is not the only thing that matters in life. Put them in hockey and let them appreciate the kid who is fantastic at hockey and not the brightest child in the room.
Tell them what I told my kids: "Being gifted is like having a kitchen full of every ingredient in a store. You can make an amazing dinner every night of the year or you can have 365 days of Kraft Dinner. It's your choice, and by the way I'll still love you no matter what."
From a gifted child
We're not oddities
I have to disagree with some of the opinions in the article. We do not all become "freaks" when encouraged, as Mr. Desmond Morris, zoologist seems to think. I was offended with his use of the word "it" when referring to gifted children, as we are not animals in a zoo.
The article was slightly untrue, as I am in a class of gifted children (Grade 6) and we are just as normal as our peers who are not in the enriched program. We are perhaps more sensitive, but not oddities to be written about in the newspaper.
This is just my opinion, and I know that there are children who do vary in their level of giftedness. But still, I want people to know that not all gifted children are prodigies with perfect marks, or abnormal people.
Yes, we are different than other children, and we have different educational needs, like to be challenged with creative curriculum. But - we are not something new to be emblazoned across a newspaper page.
I like the gifted program, and going to school, but it's another thing to be tagged as a "giftie."
-Isabel Teramura, Ottawa
These posts have been edited and condensed.