Venturing into writing about having a gifted child is a whole new area for me. I wrote recently about discovering Caroline’s giftedness. In part, I wrote:
As evidenced by the topics in my header, I’ve always known that Caroline had unique traits. But I never really researched the gifted angle seriously because… I don’t know. I just didn’t. Even though I’m gifted and qualify for Mensa so it would make sense she would be gifted, I just didn’t zero in on this with her. Maybe God’s restraining hand? However, after digging into the reading I have zero doubts. Some of the characteristics made me laugh out loud because it’s just SO OUR LIFE! There was one list in particular that zeroed in on some very. specific. things. that just astonished me how accurately they described Caroline.
I’m not going to say much about this here since I try to protect Caroline’s privacy online. But a gifted child is not the same thing as having a smart child. Gifted is different and it brings with it a whole set of challenges and opportunities. Like most gifted kids, Caroline’s development is asynchronous in some significant ways and so I’m struggling to determine the best ways to meet her needs and address areas that need focus. And have all of us stay sane in the process.
So what made me decide to write about giftedness? Well, I’m writing about it today because it is time to force me out of my comfort zone and write about it.
Giftedness: Why does it matter?
I put off writing this post day after day because I feel so inadequate to the task. I feel like I’m just starting to figure out what this means for us and, frankly, it’s overwhelming. I feel ill-equipped to give any kind of insight on this topic. It’s hard to even draw on my own experiences because Caroline and I are gifted differently in some significant ways.
I was also a K-12 public school child so my frame of reference for what it means to be gifted in an educational setting is completely different from our homeschooling situation. (As in, we had professional specialists working with us. In Caroline’s situation, I’m the specialist.)
But I do know one reason why it matters. Identifying Caroline’s giftedness (and, in the process, revisiting my own) matters because it shows me I am not alone on this journey. Discovering other parents who wrestle with the same issues and questions is important both for Caroline and for me as her mother and teacher. A child’s giftedness changes your life. It means adjusting your expectations. It also means experiencing some amazing joys.
Those of you who have followed my blog for many years know that I wrote very little about life with Caroline after I had her. I had a very public long-awaited pregnancy, but then it just changed. I didn’t write because I didn’t know what to write. I didn’t want to write something I would regret later on. Our early years were not blissful days of a perfectly photographed baby, but rather parenting a high need baby. The first four years were HARD. And so I just kept my blogging mouth shut for the most part.
Caroline will be eight in a few weeks and I just now feel like I have enough experience under my belt and distance from the early days that I can write with some sense of clarity. David and I can see the fruits of our labors to this point. Discovering Caroline was gifted brought all of it together somehow.
Why Identifying a Child’s Giftedness Matters for the Parents
So is it important to know your child is gifted? Yes, I think it is. Obviously it is important for the child. Gifted children often feel that they don’t fit in and understanding you are wired differently can make a big difference in knowing who you are and the unique ways you are blessed.
But it’s also really important for the parents. It’s important to know that your child is different in a good way. She does demand more out of you. Her asynchronous development is normal. And there are plenty of families like yours out there.
The first four years I felt very alone. I felt like almost no one could relate to our struggles. It was very lonely. I learned to keep my mouth shut in real life because to discuss our challenges almost always brought judgement and condemnation, even from people who probably meant well. Our confidence as parents took a terrible hit during those years. I don’t want other people to experience that and if my writing can help just a few families through those tough times, then it was all worth it.
Do you know which six words bring a smile to my face quicker than almost anything? “I’m so glad I found you.” Of all the comments I receive on here, that is the one that makes me smile and glow inside every. single. time. Because I know someone else doesn’t feel alone any longer. And it makes my heart sing to know that is true.
Identifying giftedness matters.
Identifying spiritedness matters.
Identifying high sensitivity matters.
Identifying right-brainedness matters.
Identifying twice-exceptional really matters.
It matters because it gives us hope and confidence as parents to move forward and love our kids in the way they uniquely need.