Some people can accept quirky, can accept differing preferences, but there’s one thing that flummoxes most people: If it’s easy for them, it should be easy for you. They have a very hard time understanding why you’re struggling.
Every once in a while, though, a student came along who was so disenchanted by the educational system, so convinced that it was irrelevant, that he did everything possible to declare his independence.
By the time they got to me, at age 15, it was almost too late.
What can we do in the early years to help kids stay engaged and motivated so they don’t reject the system and end up failing out of school?
The early years of parenting gifted kids can be tough. You’re probably sleep-deprived, frazzled, questioning your parenting skills, asynchrony is in full force, and all around you, people are telling you to “enjoy every moment” and to “let them be little”. Meanwhile, you’re wondering what in the world you’re going to do with a 4 year old who reads a math dictionary for fun while his friends are playing pirates and house.
The funny thing is – for parents who grew up without a “gifted” label, this behavior is normal. It’s normal because it was their experience. It’s normal to be ultra-sensitive to sound or smells, normal to feel bored and disconnected in school, normal to be clumsy or sensory seeking, normal for academics to come easy but the social stuff to be hard. And that causes us to doubt our own kids, to minimize their struggles, because we were the same and made it through.
Asynchrony is a description, not a diagnosis. It describes these kids with intense internal drives to understand more, do more, know more, and how they interact with the world around them.
It’s easy to model concrete skills: how to peel a carrot, how to wash a window, how to sort the laundry. These activities break down into simple, observable steps that can be easily verbalized.
This year, I’ve realized that I need to be much more intentional in modeling those oh-so-important skills that are less concrete.