Since learning of Caroline’s giftedness (2e), the past year has been a huge learning curve for me. I’ve had to rethink so much about learning and parenting. Because I’m a Christian, I think about these topics in the context of my faith.
I realized at one point that there is very little out there about raising gifted children in the Christian faith. There is a great deal about gifted children and there is plenty about Christian parenting and homeschooling. But both? Not much.
I brought up the subject of raising a gifted child in a Protestant faith tradition in a gifted homeschool bloggers group. We had a thought-provoking discussion about the challenges and opportunities as Christians with gifted children.
This series of posts is a result of my experiences as a parent and that conversation. I hope it will be a helpful series for people who are wrestling with some of these same issues and will spark some good discussions.
If You Don’t Have A Gifted Child
If you don’t have a gifted child, you might think this series won’t be relevant to you. I would ask you to reconsider. This series is for you if you:
- Chaperone field trips with your child’s class
- Teach Sunday School
- Help at AWANA or youth group
- Volunteer or teach at a homeschool coop
- Volunteer in your child’s classroom
- Have friends or family members with a gifted child
In short, if you work with or interact with someone else’s children on a regular basis, I promise you will find something in this series that will help you understand how to best help and love a gifted child.
Raising Gifted Children As Christians Brings A Unique Set Of Struggles
What is it about raising a gifted child in the Christian faith that presents a unique set of struggles? I’ve observed some things that I think are very important.
- How do you respond when gifted children often interact with matters of faith very differently than a neuro-typical child?
- How do you raise gifted children in Christian community when they don’t especially like groups and find church overwhelming?
- How do you instruct a child in the faith when he doesn’t like to be instructed in the typical ways churches function or simply doesn’t like instruction because of the way he is wired to learn?
- How do you effectively discipline a gifted child?
- How do you raise your child to understand that it is fine to be gifted and also be a person of faith when the gifted community is often hostile to Christianity or say they are mutually exclusive?
- How do you support gifted children who often feel the weight of the world on their shoulders?
Those are some of the questions I’m going to touch on with this series. I hope you will find it helpful. If you are a parent of a gifted/2e child, I hope you will leave a comment and share what has worked for you in these different areas. I do not profess to be an expert in any of this! I’m simply hoping to facilitate a helpful conversation. You might have the answer another parent needs!
Raising A Gifted Child Series Clarification
A couple of words of clarification. I know the term “gifted” is controversial. I’ll be explaining what I believe gifted is and isn’t in my next post. I’m also writing this series from the perspective of a right of middle, Bible-believing, Gospel-preaching Baptist Christian because that is my sphere. It isn’t my intention to slight people of other faiths, but the historic Christian faith is the frame of reference for my life and so that is why it will be the basis of this series. Certainly anyone of other faith traditions (or no faith) is welcome to read and discuss. However, the series is not open to questioning the validity of the Christian faith, the Bible, or giftedness. Comments of that nature will be deleted in order to provide a place for Christian parents to discuss. Thank you!
This post is part of my Raising Gifted Children in the Christian Faith series.
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One of the most challenging things for our family has been the area of discipline/obedience. Of my four kids, only one would be described as compliant. With the other three, we have to do quite a bit of explaining, discussing, compromising, and just letting some things go. This concept can be very foreign to many people who expect/demand immediate obedience and compliance from children. I have felt the stares on more than one occasion from people who have no idea that my kids just don’t operate that way.
I hear you!!!!! I have an entire post in this series about how to discipline gifted children. It’s a HUGE issue for us as parents that people don’t understand looking in from the outside.
Thank you for undertaking this topic! As a Christian gifted adult with 4 gifted kids it is a challenge to help them navigate church life. All of them have a strong faith that they own as their own. We have had seasons where I had to pull them out of activities because although the environment was small enough for one on one adaptation those leading just could not accept/understand how giftedness could so profoundly affect what the child needed. I have looked for discussion of this on and off for several years and this is the first I’ve come across.
Thank you for your comment! I hope you will add your perspective in the comments on the various posts. I don’t profess to be an expert in this at all. I’m still figuring it out. But, like you, I felt there was a need for this conversation to happen since it is a real issue. I think as gifted Christians and/or Christians raising gifted children it really feels like a path those around us don’t understand. Would you be willing to share the ages of your children?
Our Christian family (Evangelical Protestant tradition) is in the same boat with 2 gifted children (now 12 & 14). Though they will not be children a few years from now, I pray I will still gain precious insight through your website which uniquely fits our needs as a Christian homeschooling family with gifted children.
I have four gifted girls at home, they are currently 8, 6, 4 & 3 years old. We are Christians.
There is no help from Hk government regarding gifted children below 9 years old
It sounds like you have your hands full with four gifted little girls. It is challenging to parent these little ones. I hope you are able to find encouragement here and other places. From someone a bit further down the road with my daughter (who is almost 13), I can say all the hard work is worth it.
I am a therapist and a Christian women. I work with gifted, ASD, and ADHD kiddos. I love the population but do find the literature hard to digest because of the strong existential depression that is disgusted and the treatment makes me so sad all coming from a non-faith perspective. I was so glad to come across your page!!! Please keep educating
Using your quote:
“How do you raise your child to understand that it is fine to be gifted and also be a person of faith when the gifted community is often hostile to Christianity or say they are mutually exclusive?”
The gifted community seems to be under the impression that religion, which they call “organized religion” (I’d love to hear an example of a “disorganized” religion, but I digress) tends to stifle education. I find this is too a general statement, as Christian Sects tend to all have their own takes on Education.
But, (and as a conservative myself I’m not crazy about this analogy, I simply can’t think of a better one), God is like the event, religions are like the news networks covering the event. My Church might be NBC, yours Fox, somebody else’s ABC or CBS, and all of those commentators will have different takes on the event, but it’s the same event.
The next step is to help the child see evidence of God in the natural world. Think of human beings. We can wear eyeglasses because out eyes, ears, and nose are all in the proper relative positions, and have the right shapes to accept a pair of glasses. How could that happen without intelligent design? Atheists might point out that primates have their eyes, ears, and noses in the same relative position, but look at a gorilla’s nose. It’s much wider and flatter than ours, so a gorilla couldn’t wear glasses. And if we got here through evolution alone, why didn’t apes evolve out of existence?
Likewise, atheists often resort to the Big Bang to explain how the universe came to be, and I grew up in New Jersey, where the theory and eventual proof of remnants of the Big Bang came about, but given whet I know about matter vs anti-matter, if the Big Bang was a random event, it should have produced equal or nearly equal amounts of both. But when matter and anti-matter collide, they produce what’s called mutual anhelation, resulting in light, heat, and radiation, but no new matter. The universe should have destroyed itself at the onset if the Big Bang was a random event. so, matter had to have been present in an infinitely larger amount than anti-matter for the Big Bang to have even worked. How could that have happened without intelligent design?
And if the Big Bang was a random event, it should have scattered debris in all directions, creating a spherical universe. But the Universe is flat, and ring-shaped. This suggests that the Big Bang was actually a series of smaller, strategically placed “Bangs” that occurred in a prescribed order, much the way engineers blast through rock in mining or tunnel construction. The technical term for that is controlled blast. Could that have happened without intelligent design?
Finally, fossil evidence suggests the human race began in Africa and gradually spread to the rest of the world? Where does Genesis say life began? I rest my case.
But if Christian Children don’t know about all of those things, how can they keep their Faith or defend it against attack?
The Gifted community accuses us of stifling education. Let’s not make the same mistake back and let them stifle Faith.