Monday, June 9, 2014

The gift of wizardry

In JK Rowling's world, some people are wizards.

Where do wizard children come from?

You are very likely to be a wizard if you have a wizard parent or especially two. If so, your siblings are probably wizards too. If they aren't, this can cause family friction.

Sometimes young wizard children are born to nonwizard parents, which is sometimes welcome and sometimes awkward when this is discovered. You have to recognise when a child is a wizard, or everything will get pretty confused.

Raising a wizard

Wizards may have a variety of unusual skills - some will be really helpful in everyday life and some will be a real burden or even a danger until the skill is really well understood by the wizard child, usually with the help of family or another great teacher. Wizards can be expensive to educate, with special equipment, methods, and expertly trained teachers. Some families will not be able to afford as much special attention as their wizard child needs.

But each wizard individual has different strengths and weaknesses, and sometimes the weaknesses are more obvious than the strengths. No wizard is good at everything, although some may drive themselves crazy trying.

Wizard life

Wizards usually have to hide what they can do from nonwizards, because their capabilities can be confusing or frightening. It can be easier for wizards to spend most of their time with other wizards, so they can be comfortable and talk freely without being rejected or judged as weird.

But wizards, even with their flashy tricks and magic words, know that they are not superior to nonwizards - who also have their own strengths that most wizards struggle to master. The wizards who do believe they are superior can be very hard to like and live with.

Some wizards never get the hang of their powers and their role in the world, and they die before their time.

And now for the magic trick

Now go replace every instance of "wizard" above with "gifted."

There are a lot of parallels with this exciting fantasy fiction, which lets anyone imagine a special role. Unfortunately for the gifted, it gets even more complicated after that. In real life, we don't have an easily-identified evil enemy to band together and fight, so we're just as likely to fight with each other when we get stressed.

Our goals aren't well-defined, and there's no fanfare or explosion when we succeed or fail. There is no Ministry for the Gifted, with rules and regulations to guide our behaviour.

And it is generally recommended that the gifted try their best to integrate most of the time, so saddest of all, there is no Hogwarts for the gifted. At least not in my neighbourhood - if there's one in yours, please tell me in the comments. And where to catch the train. Because I'm not ready to give up on the magic just yet.

This post has been written for the 2014 Gifted Awareness Week Blog tour. See all the blogs as they magically appear...

Jessica Parsons is the current president of Auckland Explorers, branch of the NZ Association for Gifted Children. She has two gifted children with her gifted husband.