Saturday, November 10, 2012

Gifted is Not a Privilege

"Parenting a gifted child is like living in a theme park of full thrill rides. Sometimes you smile. Sometimes you gasp. Sometimes you scream. Sometimes you laugh. Sometimes you gaze in wonder and astonishment. Sometimes you're frozen in your seat. Sometimes you're proud. And sometimes, the ride is so nerve-wracking, you can't do anything but cry." Carol Strip & Gretchen Hirsh, in Webb, Gore, Amend & DeVries

I have always been happy to tell people that my son is a gifted child never thinking how the word 'gifted' can be such a sensitive or offending word to some. A variety of emotions, view points, interpretations or even misinterpretations get stirred up. There is always the argument that every child is gifted. 

The term "gifted" has been in use in the gifted education field for the longest time. Over the years, it has become the word we most commonly use to refer to those individuals who are, in some way, markedly different (advanced) in their abilities in a particular area. Maybe it is not the best word to use but like it or not, that is the term used in gifted education. 

My understanding of the term gifted child means a child who learns differently, has exceptional potential, and abilities. Gifted children also very often experience asynchronous development and has social emotional issues. Giftedness is not about elitism. 

Many parents tell me I am sooooooo lucky to have a gifted child. They are green with envy. Many wished for the same and some to the extend of trying to create one. 

It is really not easy to parent a gifted child what more a highly gifted one. The challenges are great. Sometimes I even feel like giving up because I do not have the right support and I am emotionally drained to the core.

I constantly ask myself whether I am doing enough to nurture my son. His hunger for knowledge is so great that I am struggling to keep up. When he is interested in something, he will read and does his research on Youtube, Google and books. Before you know it, he will start talking about his new found knowledge and I will be clueless. What do I do? I will have to do some research and try to understand what he was talking about! The challenge is, I need time to verify all that he knows and this is the hardest. TIME! Not to mention my brain can't absorb that much and my memory is failing me...*sigh*

Just an example of what I went through recently:

Since 2 months ago Reese is very much into Astronomy. He is fascinated by black holes, galaxies and many more. He told me things like "Space time is calculated using width, length, height and time."and "Singularity is the black hole where it is infinite."...  Then I wondered whether he actually understood what he was saying... he does because on the spot he used 2 balloons (left over from his birthday) to explain to me about the 'red giant' and then went on to explain to me about 'spaggettification' with other props.

Once he asked me how to spell 'heliopause'. I just stared at him because I have no idea. He was drawing a chart to illustrate the various layers of the universe. I had to asked him to explain to me and then search the internet for an answer!

Reese's drawings on space

A mummy I knew from my science co-op said perhaps I should get connected with professors and professionals in fields Reese is interested in so that they can better guide and nurture him. She said what Reese knows in a short few weeks about space are advance astrophysics. I agree with her but how to find these mentors? Do you know any? :)

Then there is the case of him learning about cells for his science class. I found a game on cells for him to play, within a week, he was talking about genetics, he was talking about RNA, DNA and what you need to do to kill injected virus, how to absorb free radicals by using slicer enzymes.... these according to an ex-embryologist are college/university stuff!! I still cannot understand some of the stuff when I read about them... hahaha... it's tough! Are you feeling me yet?  

Then there is the social emotional issues. Reese does not read social cues well. He is not 'street smart'. He is too innocent. Does not know how to make friends. Whenever he sees kids, he will just jump in assuming they will play with him! When some of the kids gang up and refuse to play with him, he doesn't understand why, he just gets upset by pouting his mouth, folding his hands around his chest and stomp his foot! The kids will laugh at him and he would get even madder or sometimes he decides that it is funny and he laughed with them! *sigh* We are banking on time that he will mature and learn some people skills along the way... It is very hard to find children that is at his wave length.... that share his interest... very hard. 

So you see... being gifted is not a privilege. 

Despite all the challenges, Reese is a very good child if you understand him. He listens to us most time and can be reason with. We love him dearly. He is truly a passionate gift from God. :)


Homeschool @ sg said...

I reckon all kids, gifted or non gifted, have their own areas of difficulty to parent. Yours have his own unique challenges and others have their own. So, to some extent, you are not that alone. My son is cognitively strong (though not even a fraction of yours! Lol) but he's social communication is also not ideal. I guess, we win some, we lose some? Anyhow, how may I contact you?

A gift from God said...


You can contact me fojill76ATgmailDOTcom