Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Gifted Dinner Table

Ah … the idyllic portrait of the family sitting at the table sharing a meal together engaged in lively conversation about the day’s events. A Norman Rockwell moment. The perfect setting for family togetherness.

Ok … time to rewind this reel! Chances are you’re the parent of a gifted child or children if you are reading this post, and these ‘dinner-time-moments’ are more like a stint on the high school debate team or a serious discussion about the fate of the planet rather than an episode of the Brady Bunch. Emotional intensity combined with intellectual ability often collides in such settings. It has ‘movie script in the category of drama’ written all over it.

So, what do these conversations sound like and when do parents decide to be teacher, coach, or active participant? Well, the subject usually sets the tone. The probability that all present are intellectually gifted will almost certainly increase the likelihood of debate. The concept of being ‘opinionated’ takes on a whole new meaning and then parents must become referees. At this point, the appeal of eating in a minivan where every occupant is firmly secured by a seatbelt or other restraint can be pretty attractive when considering where your family will gather for their next meal.

Few families actually eat meals together around a table, but it’s a good idea to try to do so whenever your schedule permits. Gifted children learn very quickly that their opinion is something to be valued. They will also learn how to stand up for what they believe in and how to defend their position. Honing these skills will help them in every facet of their lives.


  1. This is a very very important post, and should be read by many... well done for pointing out the power of the board.. parents should not be afraid of running to be on these.. change from within.. often only way...


  2. Debate rarely happens at our dinner table. Stories of the day, notification of cool things we found on the web, pun fests, queries about linguistics or computer science or classics, side trips to the Oxford English Dictionary, … are much more common. Debating happens at other times, when there isn't food to be consumed.