Thursday, January 17, 2008

Gifted? God No.

On monday, when I walked into the school's main office, a teacher had posted this column from Newsweek about giftedness and kids. She makes a couple of points about how giftedness is statistically improbable; that is to say that most parents who want their kids to be gifted should know that it's unlikely that the kid really IS gifted. She also mentions that status of giftedness and how parents try to get their kids labelled as such to give them a leg up into a private school or to get them into a special program to make up for the crap that can be public education.

She also mentions the weird industry that seems to arise around turning our kids into gifted-bots: Baby Einstein videos and "smart" baby food (not to be confused with Smartfood which is delish and hella fattening but won't raise your SAT/GRE/MCAT/LSAT scores.

This part:

I'm starting to think being smart is overrated. We all know adults who are supersmart but somehow never learned the basic playground rules about how to play with others. And while it would be nice if my child turns out to be gifted, it would be even better if she turned out to be kind, confident and happy.

is where I am. I doubt that Little Man or Boo will ever be thought of us gifted. With Boo, she has to overcome a lot just to get to breathing on her. That doesn't make her less loved and treasured. We have a joke in our family, whenever Little Man tumbles forward from seated for faceplant on the floor or whenever we bop his head as we carry him from room to room: "There goes a few more points off his SAT score."

I don't have advanced child-geniuses. But I do have a daughter who loves anyone who will hold her and a son who will smile and flirt like mad. I have mostly happy acting babies, which is a miracle to me. I'd prefer the happy, sweet, kind kid.

1 comment:

rboston said...

I am right in the midst of this. I just turned in the app for E to get tested for G&T. Mostly on the rec of his current teacher who said he needs to be challenged. I completely plan to use the test (should he test well) as a means of entre to private or magnet public schools.

The other side of having a kid who "gets" classwork, is trying to find early on things that challenge him more, so I am investigating art and music classes and have already started in on the sports instruction. We also are starting to use the computer more which at least is a variation on book/classroom learning.