Thursday, June 13, 2013

G is for Gifted and that's good enough for me...

Thanks a million, Sesame Street!
...and now I want a cookie.

The G Word

The G Word (gifted) is very much on my mind right now.

I've just opened discussions within our local gifted group about our name: I would like the name to feature "gifted" more prominently, others have very valid concerns about the impact of such a change.

My personal experience with the label of giftedness started very early, with the introduction of a gifted program at my primary school.

The very real impact of gifted labelling and separation continues as a divisive issue throughout generations of our family.

As for our children, any bonuses they may score from being gifted must be weighed against the other attributes they inherit or must otherwise endure in a gifted family.

So, what are the Pros and Cons?

This isn't a new topic, so here are some discussions:
For me, being gifted is the true divider. Not the label - that's far less visible. So our children have enjoyed gifted educational programmes like Small Poppies and Gifted Kids, as well as the more social Explorers.

Owning Gifted

No doubt, there is a cringe factor out there for “gifted”. But what message do we send when we cringe too?  How will our gifted children feel if the word gifted is so awful we can barely say it?

Even more telling than the cringe factor is the public lack of understanding even of the basics of what gifted means...and what it doesn't. While happy to acknowledge levels in sporting prowess, the world is horribly and hypocritically cruel about differing intellectual capabilities. Consider the word "retarded," which is simply derived from a Latin word meaning "delayed" yet has been allowed to become an insult.

Today, when image means everything, can we afford not to say "gifted" as often as possible, with our message of choice attached? Can we own the word gifted instead of letting it be used against us?

This post has been written for the NZ Gifted Awareness Week Blog Tour. Check it all out!

Jessica Parsons is the mother of two gifted children and the president of Explorers, the Auckland branch of the NZ Association for Gifted Children.