Giftedness is Very Real

There I said it! My Son is gifted!

Unlike Autism, ADHD, Down Syndrome or Dyslexia, Giftedness is something we don’t talk about. It’s something we dare not utter a word about because when we do we are shouted down for boasting and being proud. (As we see the author of “I Hate Hearing About Your Gifted Child” just did.) Thank you Laughing at Chaos , AwayFromTheOven and LifeWithinIntensity for your inspiring blog replies. They made me ralise it’s time for me to be bold enough to let others to hear from us too.

I am not sure why people feel so judged and threatened by gifted children when in fact that’s just who they are. They function differently from the rest of us and see and hear the world from an entirely different perspective. Why is different so intimidating and somehow wrong?
It’s how you think, how you perceive and how you breath. Being gifted isn’t something you can turn on and off, it isn’t something you can work hard at and become, it isn’t being talented or skilled in an area such as sport or music. Instead it’s just who you are.

Gifted children are not at the top of the class, they often the “plebs” who’ve been misdiagnosed with ADHD and are sitting on Ritalin. They are often the trouble makers and those just skimming through each grade. These are not children to be threatened by instead they are an endangered species that we need to save. These children are able to offer so much and yet we are pushing them aside, discriminating against them and drugging them. So many resources are available for Learners with Special Needs – who battle through the system and yet there are none available for my learner with special needs.

He began reading at 22 months, when he was 5 he was reading encyclopedias. I called a school to enroll him in grade 1. I asked what they would do with him while the others learned to read their response, “He’ll just need to suck it up and wait for the others to catch up.”

So we homeschool – by choice – well yes… Until I hit a real wobbly last year and wanted to send them all to school. Again a phone call. “I have a 9 year doing grade 7 maths and high school reading and language.

Can we enroll him next year?” Reply: “Well, he’ll need to go into grade 4 and we’d try extend him but he’ll need to do grade 4.” Imagine! That’s like telling a 3rd year varsity student that they need to go back and start varsity over again. So yes we love homeschooling but it’s no longer only by choice, we are kind of out of options.

When saying my day is tough other homeschoolers have turned around and said, “but at least your child reads what do you have to complain about?” Well my gifted child is reading – but he reads anything and everything he lays his eyes on. That includes billboards, newspapers and the Bible. Maybe that sounds like a dream, but is it? When your child is 5 and having sleepless nights because of world hunger or trying to understand death and eternity at 3 years of age. How do you explain to a 6 year old about government taxes and the economy crashing when he wants to know about why the government is repossessing houses? The best yet is trying to explain God’s judgment, justice and grace to a 5 year old.

How about seeing the world only as black or white. Everything is either good or bad. There is no grey. Everything has to be justified and fair. The rules, every rule needs to be kept. The world is so loud and bright and the sensory overload can be so great that melt downs are apart of ones reality. One who needs to move to think. The pressure of thinking one needs to be perfect and not being able to sleep at night as their mind is so alive. So the list continues.

The intensity so great that Mom and Dad fall into bed exhausted every night. And they say siblings are usually not far behind each other. As our little ones are growing they may not fall into the profoundly gifted category, like their brother, but they too are following close behind. Can you imagine to intensity of these little people trying to all help me make supper, tell me about their day or work on an art project? No it’s not horrid just very noisy, opinions flying, conversations heated and everything being analysed. Nothing can just be “because it just is.” But why?

Looking at just a few of the gifted “symptoms” mentioned above would it make everyone feel better if I say my son has a “syndrome.” May I mention that besides doing grade 7 maths, he’s just finishing writing his first novel at 9 and that he’s busy building a birding website, he plays the violin beautifully, he writes wonderful poetry and he is the most amazing big brother. Or am I only allowed to dwell on his “syndrome symptoms?” We have been blessed with an amazing little boy who is tender hearted and loves with his whole heart – another symptom I suppose: Gifted children either do something completely or not at all.

For 9 years I have kept quiet but I can’t let others tear down something so beautiful and pure as the gifted child – without which there’d be no Mozart, theory of relativity or Starry Night. Just as I see every human as a unique creation by God and rejoice in who they are, don’t see our gifted children as a threat, simply see them for the beautiful people they are and celebrate that you too may one day benefit from what they have to offer this world.

So just aswe need to raise our voices to save the rain forests so we need to raise our voices to save the Gifted Child who is just like everyone else – just wants to be accepted and loved for who they are. Instead of trying to box them and feel threatened by something new just try to understand the gifted child and you maybe pleasantly surprised with what you find!

Pearl Buck sums giftedness in the most beautiful way….

“The truly creative mind in any field is no more than this: 

A human creature born abnormally, inhumanly sensitive. 

To him… 

a touch is a blow, 

a sound is a noise, 

a misfortune is a tragedy, 

a friend is a lover, a joy is an ecstasy, 

a lover is a god, 

and failure is death. 

Add to this cruelly delicate organism the overpowering necessity to create, create, create – – – so that without the creating of music or poetry or books or buildings or something of meaning, his very breath is cut off from him. He must create, must pour out creation. By some strange, unknown, inward urgency he is not really alive unless he is creating.”

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17 thoughts on “Giftedness is Very Real

  1. SING IT!!!!
    When A was in kinder, a friend said to me that it must be nice that he could read, and so well. Granted, her daughter was struggling, but I about smacked her. 😉

  2. No, not at all satisfied with my child’s education. At elementary and middle school level, she has always scored in the 98th percentile or higher on standard testing, but she has never been offered any work that would be a challenge to her; just given a lot of busy work. That was like pulling teeth to get her to do her homework. Now at the high school level, she doesn’t know how to give effort in her work, never had to try hard because the work was too easy. She’s taking easy classes, and getting zeros on assignments. The school system has failed her. While they are attempting to keep children from getting “left behind,” gifted kids are getting thrown under the bus. So, my son is 6, and taught himself to read at three. I’m not making the same mistake. I’m homeschooling him, and he’s already working on fifth grade work. I know that homeschooling is my only option at this point. I can so relate to everything in your article. My question is, how can I find other kids with similar issues, so that my son can have playmates that “get” him? I cannot find anything on the web with local and in person support.

    • Hi Thanks for the comment. It’s not easy to find support. The gifted school called Verity, in our province – but too far for us to attend – has been very supportive. I’d suggest that you contact an organisation such as and ask them if they know of any. Hope you visit us again soon.

  3. You’ve hit the nail right on the head. I can’t even tell you what a relief it is to read your blog post, along with the other blogs you mentioned at the top. Someone *really gets it.*

    I’m not the only one who’s had to answer “Who is God and why can’t I see him” to a 23-month-old. I’m not the only one who’s had to deal with hysterical fits for days on end because my 4yo doesn’t know who he’s going to marry…or dig him out of “I can’t do it” because he’s not painting like Rembrandt at age 7. We’re not alone in dealing with complete meltdowns in trying to write an essay because the words are there, but because of a stressful week they just won’t flow from his head to the keyboard.

    My son is my miracle, and I wouldn’t trade one second with him for anything. But, it gets so exhausting to have to explain to people, quietly, why he doesn’t like being introduced to strangers as, “This kid’s a genius! I mean, a real live genius!” I’ve barely slept in 15 years, since I’m up in the middle of the night discussing Game Theory, psychology, and college-level theology…or simply helping him understand why others see things in shades of grey.

    However, I’m also blessed with a kid who works with special needs kids simply so they’ll have someone who will never tell them “I don’t have time for you”; a kid who sees things in such a profound way that he constantly makes me re-evaluate; a kid that cares so much about others that he’ll forgo his own needs in order to make sure those of others are met. I couldn’t be more blessed. It’s just really nice to know that there are others that know exactly what I mean when I say that 🙂

  4. I totally hear you, it is one amazingly intense experience. We homeschool as well (my little one is 6). I can’t imagine a school trying to deal with his amazing curiosity coupled with his need to move.

    I really hate that there is such a stigma attached to talking about my experiences with my son.

  5. Amen! My 5 year old reads at a 3rd grade level at least. And can I just say that tabloids in the checkout aisle kill me! It is certainly hard when they can read anything before they are ready. We homeschool too and I do love having such a gifted boy, but it certainly has it’s own challenges. And I also feel the pressure of not talking about how gifted he is.

    So thanks for this post!

  6. Been there…done that! How true, how true indeed!

    Except that we found a private school for a few years before we had to homeschool and that our son is now 19 (with several college degrees already), this could almost be our story. Just stick to letting the gifted child show you what is next and pray for guidance (especially when dealing with the age-appropriate emotions on above-age topics).

    Oh, and if you want a wonderful (but expensive) place to send them for a few weeks every year where they will fit in with everyone else, check out Johns Hopkins’ CTY/SET program. Our son attended the ones actually in Baltimore as a commuter and, until college, it was the only place where he felt he belonged and was truly happy.

    The road is not easy, but it is worth it!

  7. I’ve been slowly working on my post in response to that awful article. I am loving how the gifted community is rallying together to show the world what gifted really looks like and how we should no longer have to keep our children’s abilities hidden.

  8. I had tears in my eyes reading this! Thank you so much. Whilst our son is not home schooled it is something we should have done when told that he was not allowed to skip a grade during his early years of schooling. It has been a rollercoaster ride for him and us during his schooling so far, with only 1 teacher knowing and understanding him. It is heartbreaking that teachers refer to his needs as “issues” whilst they accommodate and accept the needs of other students so easily. Like you all we have known from an early age that our son is gifted, what a shame for everyone else that they choose not to recognise this and the wonderful talents and skills that he has.

    • Thanks Bella, Yes it does seem that it’s left up to us as parents to do the best we can with our kids. Hope you’ll visit us again soon.

  9. This is both beautiful and (for me, personally) heartbreaking. I wish my mother had mustered the courage to take me out of school, rather than let an unsupportive system sap me of creative drive and purpose. I remember finding a pile of “what to do for your gifted child” books in her room (in 3rd grade?), reading them, and spending months depressed because none of the programs or tools in the books were available in our tiny backwater town (I was not even allowed to skip grades, for “social reasons”).

    Your son is gifted, not just in his native abilities, but also in that he has you for a mother. Thank you so much for writing this.

    • Thanks for those special words Anna – they mean a lot. And remember being gifted is who you are and it’s never too late to let your clipped wings grow into all they were created to be. Hope you’ll visit us again.

  10. I do not have gifted children. Thank you for educating me . . . Loved the article ! Well done girls. You are doing an amazing job with your children.

  11. I am another mother of children who are gifted who was angered by the article on Babycenter. If a person hasn’t walked in our shoes, they don’t know the struggles. I fiercely advocated for my children and was met with resistance at every turn. I applaud you for homeschooling your children, and regret that we did not do that for our children, especially our oldest. Two years ago we uprooted and moved to another country to give our children a chance at a better education. It was a drastic move (and not one all can take) that I don’t regret, but nearly two years later we are still dealing with the fallout from the inadequacies of the school we left. It angers and saddens me that the needs of gifted kids are so grossly ignored.

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