Monday, August 13, 2012

Just My Imagination

When I was in high school, I wrote a paper for a Creative Writing class based on the classic song by The Temptations, “It Was Just My Imagination”. At the time, I was fascinated by the thought that our own imagination can be one of our greatest sources of inspiration. I was reminded of this after recently reading a blogpost, “What’s My Story, What’sYours?” by Stephanie Tolan on her blog, The Deep End.

These words were most inspiring from Stephanie as she expressed her hope for her blog, “The story told here will be one of possibility, of hope, and of radical trust that the children we are doing our best to support have what they need not just to survive as individuals, but to venture out to the edge of the web we’re all connected to and take us beyond our current expectations.

It made me reflect on my own role as parent and advocate. And then the flood of questions came to mind … “What will be my children’s moral inheritance from me?” “How can I inspire them to envision a brighter future?” “How does one nurture a feeling of hope?”

And then … *poof* … twenty minutes later, I realized that my imagination had been running away with me. A trip down memory lane was serving to provide me with inspiration for this blogpost.

As parents, we do the best we can to raise our children as best we know. It is only years later through ‘experiential learning’ … as they like to say in college brochures … that we begin to second guess ourselves. What ‘coulda, whoulda, shoulda’ I have done differently had I known then what I know now?

Well, here’s the deal; you didn’t know then what you know now! Nobody does. The important thing to remember is that regardless of where you are on life’s journey, you can always attempt to make things better.

Talk to your children about their hopes and dreams. It doesn’t matter if they are 10 or 20 or 30 years old. Remember, asynchronous development can often play to your advantage as the parent of a gifted child. Share your dreams and hopes with them. They need to hear this from you. Too often, we get caught up in the day-to-day grind of ‘making a living’ or our own ‘joie de vivre’ and forget the importance of simply talking to our children.

So, take some time to engage your children in conversation whether at the dinner table or over a cup of coffee at a local cafĂ©. Don’t know what to say? Let your imagination run away with you …

Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Quirky Child and the Soul of Giftedness

This post is part of the World Council of Gifted & Talented Children's International Week of the Gifted 2012 Blog Tour

Quirky: something that is strange/not normal, but cool; characterized by peculiar or unexpected traits. That’s about right. Gifted kids are quirky. They have quirky friends. They like quirky things. Strange, but cool! Add in emotional intensities combined with an intellect that all too quickly surpasses that of adults charged with their upbringing and well … you get the picture.

Now don’t go taking offense ~ none was intended. I like gifted kids. I was 1. I raised 2. I’ve worked with many. When I was in the 7th grade, my mother gave me the book, How to be a Non-Conformist. Of course, she already knew that I didn’t need any advice on the subject; she just wanted me to know that I wasn’t alone. I was strange, but cool!

Enter the 21st century ~ a brave new world where gifted children are being parented by those of us who grew up in the confines of the 20th century ~ sans cellphones, mobile computing devices, the Internet. You suddenly find yourself longing for life off-the-grid! Then, you realize that you just need to harness these new tools to become a better parent

I love technology! I’m thankful that I have access to it. I realize that not all parents have this luxury. I appreciate the fact that my children are available to advise me on its use. Not all parents are this fortunate.

So what’s a parent to do? Hmm … when faced with a lack of face-to-face interaction with like-minded parents but with an Internet connection … let me introduce you to the ‘networked parent’. Take your old-fashioned address book or rolodex and introduce it to your Facebook Friends’ List. One group of friends does not need to supplant the other. Live a life connected!

This week we celebrate the International Week of the Gifted 2012. Next year has been designated as the International Year of Giftedness and Creativity 2013 by The World Council for Gifted and Talented Children  in conjunction with their bi-annual conference, The Soul of Giftedness 20th World Conference on Gifted and Talented Children, to be held in New Zealand.

My goal is to bring my circle of friends into closer contact. Let them get to know each other; to inspire, enrich, and support. I've only just begun … meeting a local friend for coffee to discuss collaboration between my work on Twitter and an upcoming gifted convention in our area; posting a newsletter from a local colleague on my Facebook Group page; talking to area teachers about the need for a more aggressive approach to gifted education in our local schools; connecting a local Davidson Institute Young Scholar Ambassador with a Facebook friend who is a gifted education teacher in another state and who shares her passion for NASA.

2013 is shaping up to be a busy year of connecting and supporting giftedness and creativity. It will be the continuation of a journey which seeks to illuminate the soul of giftedness in our quirky kids. Some would say strange, but we know they are ‘way cool’!