Our Tall Poppies
Have you heard the term Tall Poppy Syndrome? Generally, a tall poppy is a person who stands head and shoulders above others for various reasons such as intelligence, beauty or athleticism. Tall Poppy Syndrome is, in very simple terms, the act of cutting down tall poppies out of envy or the need for egalitarianism.
See: Tall Poppy Syndrome
Tall Poppy Syndrome can relate to many social situations, but my own Tall Poppy is a highly gifted child who has been “cut down” by friends, adults and unfortunately, teachers too. These situations involve bullying, neglect, isolation, hostility, denial, envy, public humiliation and ignorance.
As any parent, we envision our children growing up to be happy, confident and successful. We love to see them shine from time to time which gives them a healthy dose of confidence and motivation. The Tall Poppy who is mine, was born intellectually gifted, and through no influence from me, stood head and shoulders above his same-age peers in the classroom–unfortunately.
My poppy is advanced intellectually which makes him taller than his peers in the field that is his classroom. On the soccer field, in art class, in the school play or in social circles, he is not always “taller”; in these situations he is often shorter. The unfortunate part for my poppy is society’s discomfort with celebrating his intellectualism.
We are comfortable with displaying car decals sharing our pride for our outstanding cheerleader, or posting on our Facebook page a picture of our child with the first place trophy for the state soccer tournament. Ummm, let me post a prideful picture of my sweet gifted child with his new patent-pending invention. Uncomfortable? Disgusted? Distasteful? Boastful? All the above? Go on, admit it, you cringed! Even I cringed, my stomach getting a little nauseous as I just revealed a true, proud moment–a proud moment that I SHOULD not share for fear of society’s disapproval.
So, my family celebrates those triumphs in private. That is okay because his self-esteem and sense of self-worth should not come from society’s approval of him, but from within himself. The crush comes when gifted children are cut down by peers and teachers for– just being themselves. Yes, gifted children are often the victims of bullying, of envy and they are often the recipients of hateful actions. Gifted children quickly learn that they need to dumb down so not to appear taller in order to protect themselves from being cut down, from being CRUSHED.
Welcome to Crushing Tall Poppies where I chronicle my life with my gifted children and passionately advocate for all gifted children.