Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Finding the Gifted in Our Children

I'm reading an interesting book called "Parenting Gifted Kids: Tips for Raising Happy and Successful Children" by James R. Delisle, Ph.D. What I really like about this book is it puts the idea of giftedness into terms I understand.

I almost wish the book had a different title because I think it's a book most parents should read. The book stresses that not all gifted children are gifted in every subject. Some children are brilliant artists, while others are math junkies. One child might test as gifted, yet be unable to write good essays. Another child might be a great writer, but not test as gifted.

Our girls are only going into kindergarten, but every teacher they have ever had -- from Kindermusik to pre-K -- told me that they were above average. Does this mean they will be classified as gifted? We don't know that yet. All I do know is as I am reading this book, I can identify with everything he talks about.

Much of the book talks about helping your child find his/her way in the world. Isn't this what every parent wants to do? To find your child's passion and help him/her achieve it? Maybe your child is an automobile fanatic. If he/she grows up to own a garage, it might not be the traditional definition of success as this doesn't come with a fancy office or big title. Isn't this a parent's definition of success though? Your child has a career he/she loves and is making a living at it. I know I think the person who can keep my 11-year-old vehicle running is a genius in his field.

Other parts of the book talk about building a child's character. Another example of a topic all parents can relate to whether their children have stellar test scores or not. I especially like the chapters titled "Write your dreams down in pencil" and "Make a life, not a living." Those are good lessons for anyone at any age, aren't they?

I don't know what the future holds for the girls, but I like the roadmap this book presents. First, advocate for your child. Whether your child needs more challenging science projects or more time to practice the oboe, it's your job to help make it happen. Second, let your child lead the way. Third, make a life, not just a living.

This is a book I'll keep handy and refer to often. Somehow I don't think the basic lessons in the pages will change as time goes by. I'll be happy to read it often for a refresher course.

1 comment:

cindy w said...

See, I would never pick up the book just because of the title. The word "gifted" makes me cringe. Some kids are particularly good at one or two different subjects. I think it's parents who tend to want to slap that "gifted" label on them because it reinforces that whole "oh MY child is a special little snowflake" thing where the parents' self-worth seems to be based on how much their child excels in academics.

That said, yes, it does sound like the book has some good points. I just hate the trendy terminology that's used.