All children are not gifted. They just aren’t.
All children are gifts, as I’ve said before, and they are special and amazing and awesome and deserving of your love and compassion.
But, they’re not all gifted.
And, to continue rolling out the “all children are gifted; they just show it at different times” statement dismisses the needs of all children.
Especially our gifted.
I like the blog Momastery. Glennon has cheered for mothers. She has been honest, strong, and an advocate for the hard road of motherhood.
But, today she got it wrong.
I believe, like so many who have taken the time to comment, that she tackled this topic in a desire to inspire; to rally her friend’s daughter’s confidence and to ask people to love their kids for who they are, regardless of labels.
And we should.
We should absolutely love and celebrate those precious souls that have been entrusted to us.
But, to dismiss giftedness in an “Every child is gifted and talented. Every single one.” post is damaging to those souls who need our love and understanding. The statement is absurd, really. Every child is an individual, and has unique talents, struggles, and personalities.
It’s like saying, “every child is…dyslexic, ADHD, cognitively delayed, autistic, average, etc.”
Gifted children have special needs. Autistic children have special needs. Children with sensory processing disorder have special needs. Children with ADHD have special needs.
And every one of those needs is different.
Just because a child is gifted does not make their need any less important than that of a child with educational delays. Every child has the right to learn something new every day.
Every single day.
And every child deserves to have his or her gifts celebrated.
Glennon writes that she heard her daughter “singing to herself. And that was the day I discovered her gift. It was also the day that she discovered her gift. And she sang all the time after that. All the time. Actually, it was a little much. But we let it slide because you don’t mess with artistic genius.”
But goes on to say, “Or my little one who was gifted in learning the classroom way, and was miles ahead of the other kids in every single subject. But had challenges being kind and humble about her particular strengths. So had a lot of trouble making friends. Sometimes it’s tough to be a genius.”
This is, perhaps, the saddest part of the argument to me.
And this is why being the mom or dad to a gifted kid is so tough. In our world, it’s okay to shout it from the rooftops if our child can sing, play football, act, or throw a 95-MPH fastball in Little League. But, it’s bragging if we tell others about the novel our 13 year old wrote, that our second grader is enjoying his study of physics, or that the 6 year old just became the youngest-ever member of the local astronomical society.
It’s not bragging. It’s just life.
And posts like this further isolate parents of gifted kids from the population. One of the most common responses I’ve received since asking for stories for the book I’m working on is that, while parents of gifted kids want to hear the stories of other parents dealing with the same things, they don’t want to share their own stories.
They’ve been misunderstood too many times.
It’s got to stop.
I don’t write about parenting children with autism or dyslexia or other issues I have no experience with. I would be insulting the many amazing moms I know who have to deal with these struggles on a daily basis.
And, if you’ve never parented a gifted child all day, every day, you shouldn’t write about how all kids are gifted. You can never, ever, know what it’s like.
By all means, write about the beauty of childhood. Write about how all children are gifts. Write about the amazing creativity and hilarity that comes with living a life with littles underfoot.
Celebrate motherhood in all its glory and struggles. Remind parents to love their children. That’s where we need to come together.
Being a mom is tough. I don’t know your kids’ struggles; you don’t know mine. So, let’s approach motherhood from a place of love and compassion. You share what you know, and I’ll share what I know.
And, I know that gifted kids have needs, very real needs that make them tough to parent, tough to teach, and sometimes tough to enjoy.
But, in the midst of it all, I’m loving my kids wholeheartedly and encouraging other moms of gifted kids to love their kids, and help them live the rich lives they were meant to live.
For more information on Gifted Kids, Check Out:
**Edited to add: Glennon made this statement via Facebook today after receiving hundreds of emails and comments. I still think we need to keep the conversation going. Giftedness is SO misunderstood, and we need to keep supporting one another. What do you think?