Sunday, July 26, 2009

July12_Measuring3_SM

It seems that many Americans have some sort of unhealthy fascination with IQ measurements. You know that something is up, when parenting sites and magazines publish articles several times a year answering questions from parents of preschoolers wanting to test their children for “giftedness”. But mostly, I think, the parents want their children to be labeled as “advanced” hoping to open new educational opportunities for them. I think most of them would be somewhat dismayed if they had to deal with a truly gifted child. Why do I think so? Because in my mind truly gifted individuals are very different from the rest of us. I had a chance to study with a few of them, since I went to a school that had math and physics specialization, and specialization started in 7th grade. The gifted individuals I encountered had a very intense focus on something and no patience for the rest of the routine life. They didn’t interact well with their fellow students, because they existed in the world of their own. Not every teacher liked them – they asked inconvenient questions too often. They also competed rather ruthlessly in their selected area. All of them, of course, went to colleges of their choice, but I only know of one who became successful in “mainstream” kind of way – he is now a professor of mathematics in Utah. One committed suicide at 20, another had to be in and out of hospitals during his manic/depressive episodes. Considering the odds, I’ll go with “normal” any day – a happy, healthy, intelligent woman who knows how to live in a modern society, how to work in a team of people, and doesn’t carry too much angst that things are not working “the way they should”. In other words… I want her to be me :) Maybe it’s really bad that I don’t want her to give unique gifts, but in my mind it’s they are rather a curse than a blessing.

6 comments:

Ticia said...

I do agree, I want my kids to be bright so they can grasp the topics we discuss, but the truly "gifted" is a very heavy burden.

Nicole {tired, need sleep} said...

I totally agree with you. And it feels like the pressure starts at SUCH an early age! 2 and 3 year olds are being pressured to learn more than they are ready for. I think it can turn children off from learning, or worse lead to depression like the 2 people you mentioned. Your daughter is lucky to have a mom with such a level head!

Christy said...

I agree too. I want my children to learn by following their natural curiosity. I never want them to feel pressure to learn. Learning should be a positive experience. I also agree that your daughter is lucky to have such a great MOM!

Autumn said...

Agreed. :)

Eva said...

I love your posts, they're always very thought provoking :) I'll also go with 'normal' anyday! I think sometimes homeschool children seem 'gifted' because they get more one-on-one with their parents and thus are able to grasp more than a child in a room full of 30 children and one teacher. I believe it's important to just go with the flow of your child, open up doorways for learning, but not force or panic if they don't immediately grasp what you put in front of them. I've spent almost a month on the alphabet with my daughter and she only knows a few letters but that's fine :) One day when she's ready she'll grasp them all... This is how I think about it: Even though babies can't talk it doesn't mean we stop talking to them, the doorway to learning has been opened, and when they're ready they'll begin talking! :)

Michelle said...

I agree in many ways. I guess that is why I like the natural approach so much - it doesn't force academics.