On Giftedness and Professionals as Parents…..

Giftedness and acknowledeging the parent piece of some professionals…

‘Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!’ – Dr. Seuss

It has really got to be said that teachers do have a very important place in the world.  They are often part of the reason why a person ‘becomes’.  I am sure anyone of us can look back on our personal histories and find one or two individuals that made great impressions on our youth, good or bad that may have influenced the path we chose to take in life.  The point being Teachers do make a difference, be in no doubt, and especially to those who may not have other supportive structures in their lives.

And.. teachers come in a lot of  shapes and forms.. as soon as one says  ‘so and so taught’ me that….’ that so and so has become a teacher of something.. however, in this case I am speaking of those who have set out purposefully to become educators by focusing their energy in specific areas and obtaining an official recognition for this in the form of a degree/diploma or certification.

In the education sector, there are many who are seen or see themselves as professionals.  We have University lecturers, who at times may not even have had any practical experience in their area of expertise (don’t get me wrong, many have had), but may offer a great deal in the theoretical aspects of their subjects. They have worked hard and long hours, thinking many thoughts, and writing thousands of words in order to get those elusive letters to follow their names, and help others with their struggles to gain the same.  We also have the Practicing teachers, the ones who are on the ground and at the ‘white board’ (chalk face may no longer be relevant? ;-D)), having basic teaching degrees, maybe they don’t have as many letters after their names, maybe they just haven’t had the time or energy to go back and study and obtain these, but that does not mean that they do not have huge amounts of relative experience that may sometimes be much, much more ‘real’ than some of the theoretical.  We also have peripheral professionals in education.. folks like educational psychologists, administrators, SEN support specialists,  all whom have  worked many years in their areas of expertise and rightly and deservedly have earned the right to  be called professionals at what they do..

The thing is.. some of these folk have an added dimension.. and possibly one for which sadly not a lot of credit is given, however, quite possibly has been a much more eye-opening education and may at times have been truly daunting… even with all the professionally recognized letters and study which has gained them the respect and positions in which they work.. this dimension is sometimes the hardest  of all to work through because sometimes all the training in the world may not give enough insight into this world, which is often governed more by instinct and individual needs and individual collections of traits and family and community dynamics… we’re talking parenthood here…

Let me backtrack just a second… this is not an added dimension that is only peculiar to professionals such as educators and those that work alongside them, but is an added dimension that is quite common for a lot of folk, professional (as defined by having a designated university degree in any area) or  (as defined as an individual who gets ‘paid’ to provide expert experience in an area), or otherwise, (defined by who??) as non-professionals…

It has been heard many a time that ‘parenting is without a doubt the hardest job in the world’

I could add to that by saying that parenting special ed kids, whether their needs be in the realms of disability (hidden or otherwise), or exceptional ability,  gifted (2E or otherwise) is potentially even more difficult.

I am only assuming this, don’t get me wrong, but I would imagine that it most likely took at least as much effort, or work to become a successful parent, and in this case, the (successful?)  parent of  a gifted child, as it did to become a licensed professional.

It is funny, after years of growing gifted kids at home, and dealing with schools, I can, not always, but with some regularity spot those parent-teachers/parent-professionals.. they are the one’s who, do not look bewildered at the 4 year old answering their first question to the child, with an initial ‘Well, actually ….. Instead, the teachers gaze turns and zero’s in on the child, and fires off a few more questions.. intent on ‘this could be one… ‘ ,  and then engages with the parent.. without feeling threatened.. It happens….

I believe that the extra 18-21 years that this person is spending/has spent, specialising and learning in how-to-bring-up-a-child-and-this-ones-a-gifted-child-and-survive…  definitely merits recognition, perhaps equal to, in addition to, or beyond whatever other qualification they may have.. and should be owned and celebrated..  and recognised.. as no small feat..

Hmm I wonder… what extra letters should be awarded??

Years ago.. I used to think that  Mother of  Highly Able Child (MHAC) or, even, Dad Raising a Highly Able Child (DRAC) would be appropriate, until someone pointed out to me that it might be misunderstood as a made up degree..  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if  some institution somewhere were to acknowledge this amazing amount of time and learning and made it real…  ;-)..  a real and recognised ‘Profession’  ;-)….

Wouldn’t it just? If it were you.. what acronym would you choose??

  1. December 16, 2010 at 9:43p

    Hi Lesly,
    I just love to read your posts, if you ever write a book I definitively would buy it. =)
    I totally agree with your premise. Every parent is an experts in his/her child but when we have an extraordinary child, the training, research and expertise go beyond the realm of the “traditional parenting”. And this should count in some way.
    There should be an honorary doctorate in parenting of the highly able with extra credit points or specialization in advocacy, overexitabilities/intensities, emotional development, etc.

    • December 16, 2010 at 9:43p

      Thank you Eva, You know I agree with you.. Would love to write a book, if I could ever get my lost concentration and confidence back… stranger things happen.. I do believe as you and the other commentator on this post that there should at least be some kind of honorary Masters 😉 if nothing else, as, both parents of gifted, and those of other special needs kids, who are committed and invovled, do so much legwork, researching, committee work, advocacy, painful reflecting and transforming themselves into unappreciated, and of times unacknowledged experts in their fields not to meantion the vast extent of their home research libraries on the subject that grow and grow…. that it is as equal, if not more equal to that of many academic programs, whether they have the mental concentration to write a b****dy thesis or not.. ;-).. or have only the energy to put a few words down in a blog… ;-D They should be celebrated!

  2. December 16, 2010 at 9:43p

    Great post! I have to agree. I think I work just as hard (or harder) parenting and homeschooling my extremely challenging gifted kids as I did in my past life as a trial lawyer (and that seemed like hard work then). The hours upon hours that I have spent researching and understanding gifted and neurological issues and finding an educational approach that works based on research, analysis and empirical studies of my kids, should surely warrant at least a masters level degree, if not higher!

    • December 16, 2010 at 9:43p

      Hi Lisa
      Thanks for those neat words coming from a professional who is a parent.. they mean much.. and as my answer to Eva, I agree whole heartedly… the work one does is similar in researching, leg work and the hours and hours parents spend at it.. particularly those with kids with special needs and those with kids with giftedness is really quite amazing.. and should be celebrated.

  3. September 27, 2011 at 9:43p

    I believe it was Stephen Covey who said that teachers and schools are resources for a parent to use in their efforts to educate their children. It is an extraordinary moment to find a teacher that connects with your child’s dreams and particular gifts and takes what is dormant in them and provides the fuel for them to launch into a universe of possibility.

    As the parent of a gifted child, I am always on the look out for these people. I usually spot it in the teachers who make eye contact with my child and engage them in a dialog to uncover what misconceptions (about themselves or the world) are holding them back from growing tall in newly found truth and wisdom.

    Lisa, I think I like the metaphor of gardeners, rather than an academic credentials. There are some parent professionals I continue to look to for advice on what’s working in the garden of their family and trying it out in mine.

    • September 28, 2011 at 9:43p

      Thanks for leaving such a thoughtful comment Ellen. It is always nice to know that folks have read a post and that it prompted them to share, and open a dialogue.. Best Les

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