Giftedness

Wikipedia has a decent article on the subject.  The topic comes to mind after reading Ender’s Game, where the main character is quite obviously gifted at at the same time, ostracized for it.  The gift is personal, the hindrance social.  People, especially kids, hate different.  Survival instinct.

I remember quite a few elements from my childhood after being identified.  First, I hated the idea of being alone, though in retrospect I’ve always been.  My parents wanted to put me in a better program at school and I purposely dropped my grades to avoid it.  That didn’t work and they moved me anyway.  I remember being in math class and understanding the solutions without understanding the methods.  The teacher would explain the problems for 30 minutes then give the class 15 minutes to complete them.  I usually just skimmed through and wrote answers.  My high school teachers really hated me for it since they thought I cheated.  I had to write out the solution long-form, which to be honest, I had trouble with.

You know that feeling when you know something is just right but you can’t say why?  I have had that my entire life, like the details don’t matter, just the big picture.

My social disabilities however have pushed me to focus on the details in order to better relate to people.  If I can do something really well but can’t explain how, that pisses people off since I seem high and mighty.  In fact I don’t know the answer off hand and it takes time to figure it out.  So flip that and I spend more time explaining why than actually doing.  The social disability is actually an intellectual hindrance but my only method of coping.

Back on point.  My wife recently asked me if I considered myself or the people I went to school with gifted.  In all honesty, I can only think of a handful of people I would call truly gifted, myself included, but nearly all of my social circle has an above average intellect and desire to perform.  People who work hard and succeed at it.  I don’t have particular regrets about life as most of it was out of my control but I do realize, as I get older, that I could have achieved more if I was given the chance/support to do so.  I don’t forgive people for their ignorance but I understand it.  It also tempers my judgment with my daughter and will help me frame options for her in the future.

As rambling as this post might seem, there’s a catharsis inherent to the process.  Let’s just say that if you want to have kids, it’s not a 5 year job, it’s a lifetime job and a calling.  My respect for those parents who truly want the best for their children is endless and society’s future is dependent on that particular gene overtaking the “have babies because you should” social stigma.

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