“Everyone is gifted in some way . . .”
The author of the article “Homeschooling the Gifted Child” in the last print edition of Home Educator Quarterly, a magazine by the Texas Homeschool Coalition, was spot on, except for that one specious, aphoristic cliché.
The everyone-is-gifted-in-some-way myth makes it difficult for actually gifted people to get their needs met. If everyone is gifted in some way, then no one is; therefore, gifted people don’t really need any special considerations.
The Cold, Hard Truth
World–not everyone is gifted in some way. To say that is plain ol’ silly talk.
Shocking? Maybe. But true. And, while I do believe it’s important to be humble as the article suggests, it’s equally important to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth — a skill lacking in politics and in small, predominantly Christian, towns everywhere (ironically). As with most of my writing, this usually means leaving the sugarcoating to the professionals. It’s sweeter without tact.
What Gifted Is
Speaking of professionals, the term “gifted” is a professional term. It’s in the realm of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). “Gifted” is used not only to describe someone’s IQ, but also to relate how someone’s mind processes information. Not everyone is gifted, just like not everyone is autistic or ADHD.
I would also like to clearly point out that, similarly, not everyone is 2e in some way, which I’ve actually heard myself agreeing with just to avoid explaining yet again that, that’s plain ol’ silly talk. A person can’t possibly be 2e in some way, because 2e is gifted and a learning, attention, or behavioral disorder, and we all know not everyone has both of those things, or either of those things for that matter.
For more information on what “gifted” is, I point you to my first ever infographic: “What Giftedness Really Looks Like.” (It’s not very good, but I tried.)
A Gentle Reminder
Saying “everyone is gifted in some way” is a way of rationalizing, of equaling the playing field. A completely normal, rational way of rationalizing. But still equally ridiculous.
Life’s not fair, remember? A hard and deeply disconcerting lesson for us gifted folks, but one that needs to be learned so we can get to work doing something about it.
Exceptionally capable adults are among those most likely to contribute to the advancement of a society and its scientific, humanistic, and social goals.(National Association for Gifted Children 2010)
Even Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences (MI) touted in education circles leaves much to be desired, and “[e]ducators need to be wary of the fad-like nature of some of the MI programs and recognize that, without further research support, they cannot depend on MI as a panacea for gifted education” (Sousa 2006).
Un-bunch Those Undies and Continue Reading
If you find your undies have bunched up, I would point you to Michael Clay Thompson’s oft-quoted article, “Everyone is Gifted” or the National Association for Gifted Students‘ “Myths about Gifted Students” for further clarification.
If you are the parent of a gifted or 2e child–congratulations!
Parents tend to be good at identifying their child’s gifted behaviors and are reasonably accurate in their evaluation of their child’s ability. As a result, not only do they need support, but they also need a voice at the table.National Association for Gifted Children, March 2018
You parents of gifted/2e kids probably already know more about giftedness than *most* educators and clinicians — by necessity, no doubt. Necessity is the mother of invention, and all that. Nonconformity in the gifted population also plays a part; of that I am sure.
If you should find yourself with a child you think may be gifted or 2e (or 3E or G 3!) and you have no idea what to do or where to turn, I would point you to the following resources that have helped me tremendously and most of which were recommended to me by a neuropsychologist specializing in giftedness (which you should find if at all within your means):
- Gifted Homeschoolers’ Forum
- Hoagies’ Gifted
- National Association of Gifted Children
- SENG – Supporting the Emotional Needs of the Gifted
- Davidson Institute
- The 2e Resource
- 2e News
- Bright and Quirky Online Child Summit
What You Should Take With You
Everyone has gifts, but not everyone is not gifted. Anyone who has a gifted or 2e child knows this intuitively, even if they don’t yet know they have a gifted or 2e child. In fact, the long-running quip in gifted circles is that giftedness is not a gift! (Those overexcitabilities, y’all!)
Don’t be afraid to seek out specialized help for yourself or your family, even if your extended family, friends, educators, or clinicians don’t believe you. Trust your own instincts about your child. You know your child better than anyone.
I truly believe everyone is special, unique, and has something to contribute to the world. Each child should be provided with the necessary support and encouragement to use her or his gifts to reach her or his full potential. Why should that be any different for us gifted?
National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC). “Redefining Giftedness for a New Century: Shifting the Paradigm.” NAGC Position Statement, March 2010. https://www.nagc.org/sites/default/files/Position%20Statement/Redefining%20Giftedness%20for%20a%20New%20Century.pdf.
National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC). “Report to the NAGC Board of Directors.” The Whole Gifted Child (WGC) Task Force, March 2018. https://www.nagc.org/sites/default/files/key%20reports/4.1%20WGC%20Task%20Force%20Report.pdf.
Sousa, David A. How the Gifted Brain Learns. Hawker Brownlow Education Heatherton, Vic 2006, Chapter 1, pp. 9-43. https://us.sagepub.com/sites/default/files/upm-binaries/32712_Sousa_%28Gifted_Brain%29__Ch1.pdf.
Weaver, Victoria. “Homeschooling the Gifted Child.” Home Educator Quarterly, Spring 2019, Vol. 23, Issue 1, Texas Homeschool Coalition Association, pp. 44-47.