I Didn’t Know Gifted Was a Thing

 

It’s interesting to me that giftedness seems to lay low, undercover. With estimates in the tens of millions, why is giftedness still such a term spoken in hushed whispers? Do we realize how many gifted we are underserving? Why are we choosing to keep it under wraps when there are so many that could still be saved?

 

I do think of giftedness in terms of being “saved”. Though many may find my terminology as overly dramatic, discovering my own giftedness allowed encouraged me to be my best self; something that was misunderstood as bravado or quashed in deference to conformity. I was finally given the permission I needed. In creating my own little haven with like-minded others, I’ve found understanding, comfort, and support. But, the teacher within still wants to educate those less fortunate, those who fault their abilities in order to fit in better.  Many still misunderstand. The teacher within me is focused on education (as always); but I’m especially interested in educating and liberating those locked inside themselves in order to conform to a world that they are merely pretending to understand. That is my focus as a self-appointed gifted advocate. It’s all about the education.

 

Functional brain magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) brings exciting new insights into our understanding of how gifted thinkers think. The first thing you notice when you look at the fMRIs of gifted groups is that it looks like a ‘brain on fire.’

 

~Brock Eide and Fernette Eide with the Johns Hopkins School of Education

 

While many may try to be gifted (spurred on by a parent or other authority figurehead), you can’t “become” gifted. The gifted brain is wired to be different. Through no fault of their own, some see giftedness as an elitist club that one seeks to enter through permission. Giftedness isn’t made, it’s born. It’s born of nature, repressed or lifted by nurture; but underlying it all is a natural, not man-made gift. One that comes with its own set of challenges and blessings. One that cannot be bought; hence the term, “gifted’.

 

You can no more wish to be gifted than I can wish to be an Olympic athlete. If, by some stroke of happenstance, my parents had groomed me for the Olympics by choosing a sport and supporting me with lessons and exercise, I may have gone much farther than my weekly casual walk in the area of bodily movement, but I would never reach the status worthy of Olympic competition. I do not have the drive, the momentum, nor the inner inclination to reach such a goal. It’s not part of who I am. I could fake it for a while in an attempt to appease the adults in my life, reach an imposed goal or gain status, but underlying my attempt would be the fragile shell of someone who is going through the motions; someone who is behaving inconsistently with the true self. I would eventually give up on the dream for someone else and fold, or fight back to regain my true self. It was never that way with giftedness in my life.. It was always a part of me, a part of myself that was more comfortable to hide than be allowed to shine.  Though I tried to deny it, it remained inside. I didn’t create it. I was gifted and I still am. That is why it’s called a “gift”. It was given, not taken.

 

Through my classroom training, I was given a list of gifted characteristics during a teacher inservice here and there, but since it never held an important focal point in my daily duties, it was soon discarded. That list was lumped in with every other mandate (among a list of many) and ignored. Little did I realize that I had pushed aside the inner life of so many of my students along with deterring my own growth. Little did I realize I was complicating and preventing the life I’d searched for since I was a child. Little did I realize I was letting go of my very soul while I begged for clarity. I begged for understanding. Instead, I was met with discomfort and a penchant for exploring my inner world while my outer world lay untouched, inhibited. Because of my own lack of understanding (and those around me), I missed the boat on giftedness. I never knew, nor understood the concept of giftedness and never imagined all of the markers that encompass the gift. I thought those were liabilities and I’m only beginning to embrace them as assets. These markers are common in giftedness and uncommon in abundance in others. I never knew giftedness was a thing.

 

How many others perceive giftedness to be the prodigy, the shining star so rarely illuminated, the one in a million; instead of the 1 in 100 or 1 in 1000 of us mere mortals? While the prodigies are truly gifted, they are also very rare. There’s another group of gifted who may not demonstrate such prodigious growth. Some may even outwardly show very little in ability, but if that hidden ability is tapped into, stand back. It lets loose a fury of potential. Potential that should not be wasted. How many go through their lives with a disconnect, never understanding that gifted is a thing- a real thing. How many do not understand that exploring giftedness may be THE gateway to understanding and accepting themselves as the wonderfully complex and unique people they really are?

 

How many don’t realize that giftedness really is a thing?

 

 

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