Warning: I am ranting here. If ranting offends you, read a different post.
So, what really is a "gifted" child? I happened to peruse a certain parenting forum that I often stop by and just for fun, landed in the "gifted" subforum. WOW.
I was expecting things like, "My two year old can play perfect Chopin while balancing a bowl of piranhas on her head". But no, these lucky parents claim their progeny can speak in complete sentences at 29 months and engage in "creative play above that of their peers". Really? That's it? Um, well, knock me down, my kid's gifted too. But, oh wait, maybe he's just developing at his own pace?! I am certainly not suggesting that there aren't people out there who may or may not be a shade more intelligent in one area or another on this journey we call life, but assigning special categories to toddlers who are likely still crapping in their pants seems like a potential house of cards just waiting to be knocked down.
In order for a child to be gifted, does it just require the parent to think their child is gifted? Do we trust the assessment of some standardized test that some gifted adult dreamt up? If a child is gifted as a toddler, will they be so special in fourth grade? What if they are "average" at that time? What then? Do you just keep it to yourself that your child was once a prodigy and now they are just sniffing glue with the rest of the pack? Do you say, "Ohh, there's my son, XX, he USED to be gifted... I suppose that last HiB vax booster stunted him! Damn you vaccines!!! " * Fellow mothers nod in agreement and shake their heads pitiably. *
Why are we always trying to label ourselves, including our children? I am interested to see how many other countries are quick to see an incident of peeing on the potty before the age of two as the machinations of a future Einstein? Why are we doing this to our children? Will proclaiming them advanced somehow improve their educational goals? Will a different label on your child and special classes put him/her in a better mindset for level appropriate learning? I believe that is what the theory behind identifying early giftedness claims. Will this label serve to support this young person? Or will it slap a big fat scarlet SMARTYPANTS on them that their peers will pick up instantly and hence shun them?
I'm really, really, really trying to be much more accepting and laissez faire regarding how people parent. AP, mainstream, natural, Montessori, Waldorf, gentle discipline, hell, as long as you aren't beating your child or shaming them continuously I am sure we can find some common ground, but sometimes I think things like this go WAY past parenting and into a deeper cultural condition.
I suppose this is all blowing my non-gifted mind, and that's okay. I'm cool with being average. I want my children to learn that flowers bloom in all different shapes, sizes, smells and colors, but that they're all still flowers.