Today, I thought about this blog. And I said to myself, “you have had too many posts about the difficulties associated with raising gifted children”. Maybe that’s because parents usually come to me when they are having a problem. But I’m here to tell you that it is a lot of fun to raise a gifted child! I know because I’ve raised two of them.
When they are born, they are pretty cute. Wrinkly, but cute. However, I swear there is that glint in their eye that says, “Are you ready for me?” It can be a bit unnerving to say the least. The first time you don’t really pay attention. The next time … it’s like, “here we go again!”
Most new parents wish their child came with an instruction manual. Gifted parents hope for an encyclopedia! Nothing seems to go as planned. Scheduled milestones often whiz right by you. One day your baby may be cooing; the next day asking you for flavored milk in their bottle. You soon realize that they are ‘listening’ to your conversations and preparing a rebuttal.
This may disturb some people, but I think it’s wonderful. I never believed in ‘baby talk’; no matter what the parenting books said. And why would I? Gifted kids are usually what I like to call, ‘early adapters’. Sure, each one is different, but they have a way of surprising the hell out of you when you least expect it. When someone tells you to stop and smell the roses, you better be prepared to smell the entire florist shop when your child is gifted!
Don’t think I’m delusional or the parent of perfect children. I am neither. But I have learned a lot these past 19 years and the most important thing may be that all the arguments with school officials or baseball coaches will fade in time. It’s the happy moments that remain. The time your 5 year old climbed in bed with you to discuss what Einstein meant with his theory about light and energy. Or perhaps when your preteen expressed doubts about the existence of god. Or when your teenager stood in front of their graduating class to give a speech of reflection and hope.
It is easy to become overwhelmed by a precocious child or even a child who in time is smarter than you and for whom you don’t have all the answers. In the old days they were called ‘a handful’. And sometimes you will need to cry yourself to sleep. It happens. But try to keep your ‘eye on the prize’! They grow up and become incredibly gifted adults; someone you ‘want’ to talk to. There’s nothing like intelligent conversation with your own offspring.
Here’s a thought to consider when you’ve had a bad day. That child who just spilt part of their science project on your new kitchen floor has the potential to one day change the world or be the one person to solve a medical mystery or be the arbiter of peace in a remote part of the globe. Not all parents are so privileged or blessed.
So … enjoy your child with all their idiosyncrasies and nerdiness and back-talking. They will probably take the road less traveled, but you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you were a part of their journey!