As someone who was a gifted child, I can definitely write what it is like to be different from everyone else. I graduated High School – with what was called an Academic Diploma – and entered college – at the age of fifteen.
I definitely did not belong there. The only reason I was able to get through High School at that age was because I have an older sister. Her friends accepted me. Otherwise, I had very few friends in my own grade. I was two to three years younger than any of them. It did not hurt that I was considered very pretty. Otherwise I would have been an outsider, a geek with no friends, no one to ‘talk’ to, no one to socialize with. I probably would have become a High School drop out.
Because I was psychic (an unknown term then) people were also a little afraid of me. I was able to read their thoughts and emotions. Now combine it all, a psychic who read thoughts and emotions, a highly intelligent person, and someone who was years younger than her grade peers.
Why am I writing all of this? Because more and more children are being born with these abilities and unless the parents and teachers understand what these children feel and are going through, we will have more suicides and more school shootings. These children need to be understood and helped to understand why they are different and why they have gifts. Yes, these abilities are gifts, and too many feel they are curses instead. Every child wants to be accepted. It is the nature of the species – to be accepted into a social community.
Every teenager – whether gifted or not – feels different and inferior in some way to every other teenager. Let the reader remember their own teen age years. Let the reader remember how they felt different and not accepted by others. Very very few teenagers are in the ‘popular’ group. Even those that are considered popular have their own insecurities. I see this in my granddaughter. She is beautiful, and I am not saying that as her grandmother. She is popular, but still feels insecure. She doesn’t know if people like her for herself, or her looks. She also very sensitive. If someone says something negative to her, she cries and wonders why that person doesn’t like her.
Gifted children have friends in their own age group. Once they are accelerated, these friends are left behind and they must find new ones. It is not easy. The more they are accelerated to higher grades, the more difficult to find friends. Boys have it harder than girls do, although girls do not have an easy time of it.
I was lucky in the respect I had good teachers. My teachers cared about their students, all of them. Now, things are a little different. Teachers are afraid of their students. I am thinking of one teacher specifically and I sincerely hope she is the exception.
This teacher feels some children are born evil. She also feels any child who commits a crime should go to jail. If the crime committed is when this child is nine or older, this child should go to adult prison. Yes, she advocates sending a nine-year-old to adult prison. Now imagine if this teacher had a gifted student in her class. The gifted student would automatically be marked different from the rest of the class. Would she be able to help this student find something of interest, or would she automatically consider this student a trouble maker and label as – belongs in jail?
Because a child is gifted, the parent usually pushes this child to accelerate more. The parent expects the child to achieve its potential. Sometimes, the parent pushes the child too hard. Each child needs some breathing room and to expect a gifted child to achieve straight ‘a’ is putting way too much pressure on that child.
A gifted child will not automatically grasp every subject. It also depends on how the child is taught. My I.Q. was tested and I had a 168. This is fairly high. An I Q simply means how that person grasps concepts. I could not grasp the concept behind chemistry although I did very well in math.
The only reason I am mentioning this is because we all have different subjects we accelerate in. Do not expect a gifted child to be able to accelerate in every subject taught. I know of one mother who told her girls that math was too hard for girls to understand. She also told her children that the moon was a planet, but that is beside the point. Because she kept saying math was too hard for girls, her highly intelligent girls had trouble grasping math. Tutors did not help them. Until they understood their problem came because of what their mother had basically drilled into them since early childhood, they had problems with math. Once they realized where the problem came from, they began to accelerate in it.
Once a child is told they cannot understand something, they automatically will not understand it. Once a child is pushed too hard to accelerate, he (or she) will automatically fail. Once a child, any child, is neglected or ignored by a parent, that child will rebel against everything and everyone. Once gifted children are outcast, that insecurity will follow them for their entire life.
Accept our children for whom they are. If they excel in something – great. If they do not, look for the reason behind this failure. Children are not born stupid. They just know less than adults do because the adults have been around a lot longer and have learned more. Every child is precious. Every child has a remarkable ability in something. Help that child find it. Encourage – don’t discourage – every child to achieve his (or her) true potential.