I’m right there with the rest of the parents who think my children are the most special, amazing creatures on earth. I have to stop myself from bragging about all the things my sons do that are totally mundane and absolutely normal for young children—walking, saying “Elmo,” and learning to high-five on command. Clearly, this is the work of a genius.
I would probably be thrilled if my children were recognized as Gifted and Talented by their schools, once they reach school-age in a few years. I personally was in Gifted and Talented classes and AP classes throughout my school years, and look at me—all I got was the opportunity to publicly brag about it.
Momastery recently wrote a blog that loudly proclaims, “Every child is gifted and talented. Every single one. I know this is true.” The blog was written in response to this situation:
Last week, one of my mama friends called to tell me a story. Her daughter had come home from school and while she was eating a snack she said, “Mom, I’m sorry but I’m not gifted. They sent home letters today to the gifted kids. I’m not a gifted kid.”
I’m going to be honest. That scenario kind of breaks my heart, but I still can’t get on board the Special Snowflake Train on this one. Momastery goes on to say:
Every single child is gifted. And every child has challenges. It’s just that in the educational system, some gifts and challenges are harder to see.
I agree with the sentiment, really, I do—but this is not the response I would give my child in the same situation. You see, if every child really was gifted on the same level, that takes away from the exceptional gifts that some children may truly have—piano prodigy, baby Einstein, what have you. It may sting, but not every child can be in the Gifted and Talented program. It may be difficult to explain, but not every child can get a consolation prize for their “gifts.”
I truly believe every human being is valuable and unique with something special to offer. But I also don’t think there is any harm in telling your kids that they are sometimes average. My kids often won’t be the best in what they do, but they are still valuable as people.
Just as importantly, my kids may not have super special gifts that are celebrated in school and that put them on the path to becoming a doctor or scientist. Sometimes I fall into the trap of musing with my husband about what our kids will be when they grow up. But I know what the final answer is: Even if they are completely average, they are still important. Even if they never tap into their gifts, they can still have self-worth.
Let’s take the pressure off this situation and be more honest about it. Some kids will have visible gifts, and others won’t. All kids have personal value, but not all kids are gifted.
(Image: Serhiy Kobyakov/Shutterstock)