A man discovered that his ax was missing, and he suspected his neighbor’s son. The boy walked like a thief, looked like a thief, and spoke like a thief. A few days later, the man found his ax under some leaves by the garden shed, and the next time he saw his neighbor’s son, the boy walked, looked, and spoke like any other child. – Lao Tzu
Throughout my life I have found myself being both the accused and the accuser. I walked, looked, and spoke in exactly the way I was told I should. When called a thief, I stole… when called a liar, I lied… and when called stupid, I hid. Perceptions are all that we have; they are our reality after all.
So, what does profoundly gifted look like? Despite my love of words, I have never been able to articulate exactly what it means to be profoundly gifted. Yet the world has told me, in so many words un-minced, exactly how my profound gifts don’t show in any of the ways I walk, look, and speak.
Because of this, I made sure to be prepared and equally practical about all of my gifted children’s social, emotional, and academic needs. I am a mission mother and I am armed with knowledge and advocacy.
Every morning I wake up with my three amazing, whimsical, and fantastical children. They are swirling around me in brilliant hues of wonderment. I find that I am full of hope and adjectives and positivity and metaphor. Refreshed and revitalized, we are all four ready to take on this day and help the world with its vision of gifted. I kiss them goodbye and I send them out into the world…. excitement, exhilaration, exaltation!
It does not take too long, nor too many meetings with teachers, administrators, and counsellors, to learn that I’ve sent them out into a world feeling full of that brilliant color and swirling wonder. I’ve sent these lovers of intensity out into a world which expects, caters to, and rewards the Middle.
The Middle? Suddenly, every amazing high that I just adored and every heartbreaking low which I just endured along with them is perceived as being too far removed from that perceived Middle. It’s not that the world’s perceptions matter more than their own, but perceptions will help to shape their opportunities.
I am like you. I am like all mothers. I want my children, and yours, to walk, look, and speak like sons and daughters; not like thieves.
But if the world’s perception is Middle and my children are clearly marching from one extreme to the next with no care or time for the median then they will never be perceived as anything but thieves (or odd, or different, or strange, or wacky, or emotional, or over-the-top, or spoiled, or pushed, or not-normal).
No… I refuse to call that my children’s reality!
My children are not thieves; but if you call them that, you will surely see it and nothing else. Profound Giftedness walks, looks, and speaks exactly how it is perceived. That’s true for every child and it certainly applies here.
So here I am: a mama metronome of metered maximums, travelling back and forth, back and forth, between complete dread and overwhelming positivity at every moment. I have walked like a thief and I have walked like the profoundly gifted… and I dare the world to tell me the difference!
Welcome to the NEXT, a new focus which seeks to tell the stories of the great, the wonderful, the whimsical, and the outstanding which ride along with profound gifts. I hope to give parents a soft and understanding place to land after difficult and frustrating days and fill them with positive adjectives to carry with them to parent/teacher conferences, advocacy meetings, the homework desk, and the dinner table. We’ve all been there and instead of discussing what is wrong and what needs to change, I hope to fill parents with a sense of what GOOD need to be upheld and protected.
Now you know how it all started…. Check out what’s NEXT: Umbrellas.