This post is part of a blog hop, Gifted GrownUps, hosted by Gifted Homeschoolers Forum (GHF), a non-profit for which I serve on the board of directors. My first and second books are GHF Press projects. For those of you who are first-time visitors, note that my current research involves the impact of bullying upon gifted/2e kids and their families.
A blog hop about gifted adults. Hoo boy. Talk about a call-to-action, one that makes me squirm in my chair.
It’s hard enough to talk about “giftedness” in kids online and in person–with all the protestations that “all kids are gifted”*–and misunderstandings about how giftedness isn’t just about IQ tests but also overexcitabilities and twice-exceptionality (except, of course, in people who don’t have OEs and aren’t 2e).
Gifted adults. The great, largely unexplored topic.
I feel at times that those of us in the gifted advocacy community stumble more often than we run with the topic of the gifted lifetime. Because that’s the point of talking about gifted adults, isn’t it? To stop pretending that being “gifted” is a blessing/curse that sorts itself out at 18.
It’s a gifted lifetime that many of us are living long after pull-out programs disappear.
There are gifted people right now at all points along the lifespan coming to terms with their differences. There’s life in college and just after where the expectation that “the cream of the crop students” would find real, true friends in college falls flat. Because the profoundly gifted kids are still different. There are mild to moderately gifted folk at mid-life, trying to figure out why they still don’t “fit” the mold of business person or soccer mom comfortably. There are couples trying to balance conflicting socio-emotional and sensory needs in the context of long-term relationships. There are men and women who experience their giftedness alongside a strong religious faith and have few outlets to discuss their journeys. There are gifted men and women in nursing homes who struggle to find intelligent, meaningful conversation while their bodies break down and their roommates go senile.
There are gifted parents working through issues of their own kids and parents while struggling to overcome past bullying. And don’t even get me started on relational aggression against bright people in the workplace in an age defined in part by anti-intellectualism. (Several of these stories have come to me via privately email in relation to my research about bullying, and it is painful to read.)
Where and how do we begin with that discussion about gifted adults beyond our inner circles without sounding like, well, pompous jackasses? And what value is there in raising relevant questions?
Who needs to be aware of the gifted lifetime? Why? What are the ramifications of that awareness for everything from interpersonal relationships to health care to on-the-job performance? Doctors, counselors, bosses, ministers, nurses, neighbors, coaches–what will it help them to know about it? What about gifted kids and teens who maybe need our grown-up stories to see that, to riff on a near-cliche, “it gets better”?
Should gifted grownups just “suck it up” and assume that current hit television shows like Scorpion and Big Bang Theory that lean heavily on stereotypes about giftedness and twice-exceptionality are enough?
I have my thoughts–and I’m inspired by this round up of articles as well as the recent writings of people like Paula Prober, Jade Rivera and Sara Yamtich, and Emilie Wapnick (founder of Puttylike**), but today I’m more keen on hearing your ideas.
Drop me a comment.
Tell me what you think.
How do we begin to talk about the gifted lifetime in fruitful ways that benefit a maximum number of people?
**Puttylike is dedicated to multipotentialites and while it’s not explicit or univeral, the connection to adult giftedness, for me, is direct and personal. I’ve just always identified as a “flexible generalist.”