Finding your tribe

We went to a Maker Faire last month — one of those beautiful events where hundreds of geeks, scientists, engineers, and other creative types get together to show off what they know or see what others are up to.

It’s glorious. In fact, of all the places we’ve been, it may be one of the places my family feels most “normal”.

There are robot clubs demonstrating their robots, engineering and math professors with cool demos, 3D printers and artists, a vegetable orchestra, violins cut in half so you can see inside, and lots of hands-on creative activities for the kids.

While we were heading over to drive the submersible robot, some random kid started singing my kid’s favorite song: the new Periodic Table Song by ASAP Science.

You should have seen my 7 year old. In that moment, he was normal, or at least not alone.

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Every summer, the lab where my husband works opens its doors to the public for four weeks, for displays, family friendly shows and demos, and tours of the facility. Even though he went last year and it’s basically the same, my son wants to go again. To every single one.

These are his people. People who build buckyball models and can read the notation for nano- and picometers, the people who don’t look at him weird when he starts talking about the elements that make the colors in fireworks but actually join in and have a two-way conversation.

J has his “people” at our church, too, older gentlemen who appreciate and can tell a good knock-knock joke and have time for a seven year old’s sense of humor.

It’s people like his aunt who let him spend 5 minutes describing a math trick over a FaceTime call.

When people find their tribe, it’s a beautiful thing. They’re taken seriously, liked for who they are, and feel connected.

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Unfortunately, for many of our gifted kids, much of their lives are spent feeling different, other. They tend to be hyper-aware of how they don’t fit in but, unless we help them find it, don’t realize there are others out there, like them, struggling with similar things but also with similar interests and strengths.

In a perfect world, we all would have access to a tribe, and not just through online resources, though they are incredible. We would share life together, our kids would find connection and challenge, and know they’re not alone.

This post has been part of the Hoagies’ Gifted Blog Hop for August, 2018.

Click here to see other ideas of what the world could be.

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