Time to address the elephant. The one in the room. You know what I’m talkin’ about.
I’m starting to hyperventilate. I really don’t want to do this.
But it was going to come up sooner or later.
OK. Sigh. Just do it.
You may identify with the label geek, nerd, bookworm, or brainiac.
If you’re following this blog, you probably know now that you’re a person with a rainforest mind. You’re excessively: sensitive, curious, creative, complex, emotional, smart and analytical.
Perhaps, you’ve noticed that I’ll occasionally use the word gifted in place of rainforest mind. This might be where you frown or pause or look at me quizzically.
You may not relate to being gifted. For many reasons:
1. You haven’t created the iPhone or sent your own private rocket ship to dock with the international space station. You haven’t played your violin at Carnegie Hall.
2. You know many people who are smarter than you.
3. You didn’t get straight A’s in school. In fact, you failed a few classes in high school because you didn’t do the homework or you couldn’t hand in work that wasn’t up to your standards.
4. You have ten books on your nightstand that you’ll never finish. In fact, there are a lot of things you’ll never finish.
5. You feel that it’s not fair to label someone gifted. No one really knows what it means. You’re offended by the label because it implies that some people are not gifted. You often fight for justice and equality for all. Calling anyone gifted feels unjust.
6. When schools identify children as gifted, you wonder if they’re just picking the high achievers or the children who fit the stereotype of the smart kid. It seems elitist to you. You believe that all children have gifts. How do the kids feel who aren’t selected?
Does any of the above ring true?
Is there an answer?
You may have heard the argument that all people have gifts but not all are gifted if, by gifted, we mean advanced developmentally. We all can agree that Michael Jordan is a gifted athlete. He has abilities the rest of us don’t have. That doesn’t make us bad or inferior humans. It just makes us less competent at basketball. No big deal. We admire Michael for his giftedness.
But if we apply that argument to intelligence, we start to sweat. And we can’t measure intelligence by number of successful free throws. We get all mucked up in the details. What about talent? What about achievement? What about multiple intelligences? What about IQ tests? How do we make sure all kids get an appropriate education? What happens to gifted kids when they become adults?
Maybe there are more questions than answers.
But, perhaps, we can agree on one thing. What if humans are like ecosystems. What if some are like meadows, some deserts, some tundra, some rain forest. All are unique, beautiful and necessary. All contribute to the well-being of the planet. The rain forest just contains more species than any other. It’s more intense, sensitive and abundant. Not better. Just more.
And what are we doing to our rain forests? And our rainforest minds?
We’re clear cutting them because we don’t recognize their value. We want to turn them into something that they aren’t and use them for our purposes.
What’s the alternative?
Let’s appreciate them and allow them to flourish. In all of their intensity, sensitivity and abundance.
Maybe even in all of their giftedness.
photo of elephant from flickr.com: brittanyhock; creative commons https://www.flickr.com/photos/thelivelygirl/5261389796/; photo of rain forest from Gary Higbee, hubby.
This blog is part of the Hoagies’ Gifted Education Page inaugural Blog Hop on The “G” Word (“Gifted”). To read more blogs in this hop, visit this Blog Hop at http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/blog_hop_the_g_word.htm