This month for the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum (GHF) November 2014 blog hop, Finding Community, I invited some members of my private online salon to weigh in on the following questions:
1. As a gifted person or parent of gifted kid, do you crave community? Why? What kind?
2. Where/how do you find community? Where/how does it find you?
3. What are some of the challenges that relationships within communities present for you?
4. How do you address or overcome those challenges?
Three people responded. Here are the responses in their entirety, with minimal editing from me.
From Caitlin Curley, My Little Poppies:
1. As the parent of a gifted kid, I do crave community. I crave it for myself, so that I have people with whom I can speak freely about my twice exceptional, gifted little guy. I want to be able to learn from others who have been-there-done-that and came through better for it all. I want to be able to ask questions of parents who have kids like mine, or of educators who have worked with kids like mine.
More importantly, I would love to find a community for my gifted child. We live in a small, rural town. The reality is, there aren’t many- if any- kids like mine in town. I would love for him to feel a sense of community, to know others like him, to be able to express himself freely and without reservation.
2. I’ve had to look online in order to find community. I am so grateful for GHF, Hoagies, and Davidson. I honestly do not know how folks did this before technology. It must have been so lonely. I’m still looking for a community for our son.
3. The challenges are lack of face-to-face, in real life, community.
4. I’d like to attend PG Retreats and other such events with my son, but it’s not in the cards this year.
From Celi Trepanier of Crushing Tall Poppies:
How do you find community? It is easy enough to find wonderful gifted communities online, but when you crave a like-minded person to sit down and chat with, you have to make more of an effort. Look to groups, clubs, teams and activities that focus on interests your own gifted child loves. Call or email the gifted supervisor for your school district, even if you homeschool, to see if there is a gifted parent support group in your area. Look on Facebook for local gifted groups and get involved in the conversation. And never be afraid to start your own gifted support group if you can’t find one in your area. Two years ago, out of pure desperation, I started a Facebook gifted parent support group, North Alabama Parents of Gifted Children, hoping to meet just a few other parents in the same boat I was in, and I ended up with more than I could have ever imagined!
From an anonymous responder:
The main problem I find in relationships outside (or even inside) of the gifted community is based in the fact that I am a multipotentialite, so I’m good at a lot of things (I often say I’m good at lots of things but great at nothing). But this tends to create jealousy or envy, in very odd corners of my world. One of my co-workers – with whom I have a very positive relationship – said to me once, “You know you’re the Golden Girl, right?” I didn’t really know what to say to that – I know it’s true in some ways, but it made me feel really dirty. I had another very close friendship (BFF-type) dissolve into nothing shortly after I started working near her and everyone kept saying how great I was and how glad they were to work with me. Friendship=gone. I’ve had this happen in school, in clubs, in friendship circles, in sports… pretty much everywhere. I’m not really sure what to do about it, because I don’t know *how* to tone it down – it’s who I am. I certainly don’t feel like I’m perfect or better than anybody else, and I *love* to help people. And I appreciate my extra effort being acknowledged, though I don’t need a big deal made – just thank you is sufficient.
I try not to make a show of doing stuff (I do a lot behind the scenes, too), and I don’t make a big deal about my participation in stuff because I don’t like being the focus of envy, but I feel it a lot.
But then also my perfectionism kicks in when I do something that *isn’t* up to par, so I can’t even tone that down!
Now, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic. In the comments section, answer one or all of the questions at the top of the post or just riff on the responses shared. (And, yes, you can message me privately if you wish, via Facebook.)
P.S. There are lots of great posts today as part of the blog hop, but be sure to check out this one by my friend Jade Rivera, which includes a giveaway to her upcoming parent chat re: Holiday Stress and the Gifted Family.