What’s in a word?

Words swarm around my head- in front of my eyes and between my laptop and me. They beckon me to write as much as they distract me from their sole purpose. They alone can build my day and tear down my weakness. They create little crevices in which I find sleeping bears of adventure. They are where I hide my deepest and darkest self, my true self, my best self, my silly self, my self you see and my self you don’t. Words are everything.

True to form, words are also misleading, misconstrued, misrepresented, and mislabeled. They are used to offend, harm, and belittle, sometimes accidentally, and too often with intent. Yet, words are beautiful when they are purposed to heal, benefit, and value another person and they are downright euphoric when the same words are used to heal, benefit, and value ourselves.

For a gifted child, words define and pigeon-hole them as much as they provide release. What is in the word gifted? I say, what isn’t in the word gifted? Everything we assign to our children has a value and nothing holds more value than a word.

Each of my three gifted children has words which have been assigned to them. They have words which have been flung at them and others which have been discovered by them. The stick words, the words which stick with them, some good and some not so good, float around them and create their world as much as my words float around and create mine.

Their words add vibrancy to colors, volume to sounds, and feelings to moments. They determine my children’s view and surround them on their journey.

Our gifted children’s stick words are, in essence, the part of our children which we are most called upon to protect, employ, and nourish. When we have to give synonyms for tears, there is no better way than to get them moving on a new word path through reading and story. At times when they can’t focus or are hyper-focused, we can hire new words to build them up, such as spirited or determined. Then, when it’s quiet, we can feed their stick words. We can pour more and more and more into them until they overflow. When they overflow; just keep pouring!

When other words define our gifted children, words like ADD, ADHD, SPD, ASD, Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, and on and on, it becomes even more difficult and even more important to fill them with stick words which they can hold onto when they are sinking in a particularly murky amalgam. With our help they can turn outbursts into expression or hopelessness into expedition towards ability.

So, what’s in a word? With one word –gifted– it seems as though we have defined one aspect of our children, their persona, their path, and their future; but with millions more, we will see their true uninhibited and infinite possibilities.

What words define you? Share it. Shout it. Stick it!

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