Thursday, September 18, 2008


I read an article that made me chuckle. Once again it came from experts who were talking about parenting again. The headline alone was the money shot that I think a lot of parents need to hear nowadays, “Is your kid really gifted? Probably not.” While this statement might come off as a little harsh, does that make its inherent life lesson and spoonful of tough love any less true?

The article cited that by actual standards only 2-5% of children are truly gifted. Growing up, I remember being tested and placed in Gifted & Talented learning (shocking, right?). But, let me tell you, there were a lot of kids in there who couldn’t navigate around a tree! Looking back on those days, while we were shuttled from our home rooms into the GT classrooms, I can’t help but feel sorry for the children that didn’t make the cut. What standards did they test our giftedness? To what bar did we measure up to and others fail to meet? I think it was lame. I mean, we were in 2nd grade. Although they might have thought I was G&T, I was an extremely temperamental, occasional bed wetter. I’m sure there were plenty of mediocre kids who didn’t have to sleep on plastic sheets! That would only be embarrassing if it still happened, but whatever!

I think parents and educators nowadays set expectations for young ones far too high. Why are people making basic, elementary education into a competition? Granted, in high school, college, and the real world, an individual’s worth is usually measured in terms competitive edge, but why instill that cutthroat attitude into children who don’t even have all of their adult teeth? On that same note, why are parents and organizers completely neutering the idea of friendly athletic competition? Losers get medals and trophies? In a field of competition where the truly great and dedicated should be heralded for their abilities, we strip them down to a level of mediocrity where the child who should be getting picked last is the new team captain! I’m not saying to beat a team of 8-year-olds who lose their soccer game. But for goodness sake, don’t give them a trophy or medal for participation. Give them a good old fashioned pizza party and a ‘do better next time.’

This post doesn’t really relate to the article as much as inspired by the fact that people are constantly putting the wrong labels on children and stripping true achievements in instances where they truly deserve attention. It’s ok to pretty much call ½ of a class not as smart or ‘gifted’ than the rest, but it would a travesty of a child’s self esteem to let them know they don’t play a sport as good as their fellow competitors?

Anyone else confused?

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