On Giftedness and the #NZGAW
‘On Giftedness and the New Zealand Gifted Awareness Week….
I am amazed and truely humbled again this year by the diversity and amount of useful information and depth of feeling which can be found in the posts that were posted for this event over the last few weeks. It is such a wonderful way for a whole community, or country or the world to come together over a topic that is truely important in their/our hearts and minds.
Equally, I am a little ashamed of not having had the time to have contributed a thoughtful post, as I would have liked to have done, but as a parent, this year, it came at an unfortunate time. The last year of highschool and exam time for my offspring. However, this experience in itself has thrown up some interesting reflections for me as a parent.
There have definitly been some rough potholes on our road (I say we, because my child and I surely lived/drove down this road together), that would have loosened the teeth on an elephant. Secondary (highschool to some) in our case was just not a happy experience. It was not so much that the courses, or teachers or the school itself (we switched schools twice, in an attempt to find a good fit), it was just… well… environmental I think.. like putting a fish in the desert and asking it to swim.
The fish would feel out of place, scared and frightened because it’s fins would find no water to push against to move, it’s tail would swich fruitlessly, the dusty grains filling its scales and eyes, scratchy, painful… gasping for breath with just the effort of staying alive… no way to flow… it would be enough to make any fish give up, lie on their side and wait for the inevitable..
That is when the fish/my fish needs(ed) advocates, to come along and pick them up, tell them that no matter what they won’t let go of them, leave them gasping in the sand. Instead pick them up, put them in a small traveling tank with water, so the dust washes off, and the fish can breath and move again, although still restricted, and, putting the tank under their arm, or in their backpack… walk with the fish accross that dessert, feeding when necesary, protecting it from the scorching sun, and evaporation, until they reach the other side. The beach and the sea with it’s vast wonders waiting. There are a few sand dunes to climb over (exams), but once through, release will come.
We are now standing in front of the tideline, with the warm sea foam frothing, and my child wiggling with delight again at the vast possibilities they see in front of them.. wanting to be released from their holding tank… As the Momma fish, I’m looking back over my shoulder at those advocates along the way, who held and transported both my childs holding tank (and to be honest my own to, when I grew to weak to carry it), and give thanks that they all were there.
That even my own child, reflecting back on their experience noted, ‘remember last November when I thought I would drop out and not finish, and here I am and so glad I’m alive, through it and out the other side with my friends…’
It brings home to me how important not letting go is, and the importance of community, holding hands and holding our kids up, passing them (and their parents) on down the line until we help them reach the relative safety of a shore (their shore) where they can dive in and swim were they will, flowing.
As I stand, waiting for them to take that plunge, bright eyed and eager, casting off the horrors of their misfit schooling experience, I know without a doubt that both their survival and mine is partially due to community- advocates, educators and other parents alongside ourselves when we faltered- that ‘understood-and got it’-, helping my little fish reach it’s sea.
Many of you here, who have taken part in these blogtour initiatives need to be thanked, as for without your helping hands, albeit perhaps, unknowingly by yourselves, the potholes and deserts that many of us face, may not have been negotiated with enough success to reach this shore, and different stories might have been told.