Raising a gifted child can be hard, it can be stressful, it can be heartbreaking, it can be confusing, it can be overwhelming, depressing, mind-boggling, and it can all melt down into sheer pandemonium at times, but it is also joyous, exhilarating and life-changing.
Raising a gifted child is intense, emotional and powerful. You experience the good with the bad, the painful with the celebratory, the utter defeats with the fist-pumping wins—sometimes at the same exact moments.
Through it all, as a parent, you wonder how will it all turn out in the end—will my child be a happy, well-adjusted, productive adult? With all of this sensitivity, the intensity, the mayhem, the regrets, the extreme highs and the lowest of lows, how will my gifted child turn out? Did I make the right decisions? Or did I f*ck up my child?
Yes, you wonder at every step, at every stage, at every heartbreak and with each triumph—will there be that light at the end of the tunnel? A light that will give you the signal that, yes, mom and dad, your gifted child is going to be just fine.
I know these feelings. I’ve felt these emotions. I’ve experienced the ripping-of-your-heart-out-of-your-chest sadness. I’ve rejoiced with praise to the heavens for the much-needed wins. And I’ve now seen that light at the end of our tunnel, that signal that let’s me finally, after all these years, exhale.
This is a new feeling and one I am still getting used to, one which has taken time to believe in, one which is hard to describe. We’ve come to the light at the end of our tunnel, walked through it, and we are on the other side. My gifted child is on the other side. Our roller coaster ride has come to a slow, gradual halt and we stepped off with trembling legs, but a heart full of much gratefulness and hard-earned solace.
The Turning Point
The turning point for us, for my gifted child, when the light at the end of the tunnel began to shine, was college. The beauty of learning alongside students of all ages, the freedom of choosing your courses and following your interests, the worldliness of being taught by teachers from various backgrounds and life experiences, and the sharing of excitement about bright futures and anticipated career plans. Freedom, choice, control, and ownership of one’s future.
For my gifted child, college brought a stark contrast to the lock-step, submissive nature of traditional school where obedience was expected, learning was standardized, achievement was glorified, and compliance brought awards and recognition.
Gone are the years of my gifted child being told he was an anomaly by his principal.
Gone are the times when teachers called him arrogant, sarcastic, lazy, and defiant.
Gone are the heartbreaking experiences of being bullied by a teacher calling him names like Mr. Zero.
Behind him now are the teachers who were clueless about giftedness and who only pressured him to comply, shut up and make perfect scores like all gifted gifted kids should. “If you are so gifted, why aren’t you making straight A’s?” You know?
Gone, gone, gone are the heartbreaking, frustrating years of being a misunderstood gifted child.
That Light, Our Light, Your Light
His light at the end of the tunnel is now the fire in his brain burning with all the possibilities his future now holds. It is the blazing knowledge that he alone can control his future and make it what he wants it to be. The light at the end of the tunnel brought back the bright light in his soul and the now-assured belief that the world can be good and teachers can be open and caring. This glowing light has warmed his heart, fired up his mind, and melted away the lingerings from the past.
The longed-for light at the end of the tunnel returned my vivacious, talkative, brilliant, life-loving gifted child whose zeal for learning and relentless fervor for knowledge was nearly snuffed out by traditional school and its misunderstanding of gifted children.
I’ll admit, at times I didn’t believe there would ever be a light at the end of our dark, unnerving tunnel. I didn’t believe the tunnel would ever end for us nor for him. I am ashamed to admit that at times, I came to believe there was no light to be had, that there was no happy ending for my gifted child. But then, a small triumph would bring us all back around to once again looking for that light at the end of the tunnel.
There were so many moments of those ups and downs, the wins and the losses, the fervent hope and then the utter despair. The ups, the wins and the hope kept us all going.
And yes, there can be a light at the end of the tunnel for your gifted child. Believe in it and keep walking towards it.
A Light for All Gifted Children
Let’s continue to advocate for all gifted children and spread the word about what giftedness is. Let’s make sure that all gifted children will be understood and ease their walk through that tunnel to be able to come out on the other side—happy, confident and full of hope for their future.
This post is a part of Gifted Homeschoolers Forum‘s blog hop, “Your Gifted Child: The Light at the End of the Tunnel.” Click on the image to read more great posts!
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