10 Things You Never Knew About “Crushing Tall Poppies”

A few months shy of three years ago, without a thought to the future or a plan in my head, I guilelessly created my blog, Crushing Tall Poppies. If I knew then what I know now (that infamous hindsight cliché, right?), I would have done some things quite differently. I often wonder how did this all happen in the span of two and three-quarter years. But, since the lowly beginnings of Crushing Tall Poppies, I’ve grown more as a person in those few years learning about giftedness, interacting with the gifted community, and writing and advocating for gifted children than in most of my adult life. I guess it all turned out okay.

But, how did I get from point A to point B? Would you like to know what I would have done differently if I had the chance to start all over? What about the wisdom I’ve gained on this unbelievable writing and advocacy journey? I may have a few answers to those questions and maybe some not-tabloid-worthy bits to share. I’ll go ahead and spill the beans on some things about me and Crushing Tall Poppies.

Here are 10 things you never knew about Crushing Tall Poppies

#1

WHAT WAS I THINKING CHOOSING THAT NAME?

I ask myself that question a lot too! I wish I would have chosen the name more thoughtfully back then, but I had no way of knowing what the future held for Crushing Tall Poppies. I would have definitely chosen something more positive to reflect who I am and what I am trying to accomplish through my writing and advocacy. But, the backstory explains the name choice and a few other things, also.

Anger—the catalyst for my blog. In his last year of public school before homeschooling, my youngest gifted son had been bullied by a teacher—she didn’t like when he corrected her mistakes and he didn’t like when she laughed and called him Mr. Zero in front of his classmates. At the same time there was another teacher who felt because my son was gifted, he should also be a high-achieving, conscientious student—one who makes good grades, is polite and well-behaved. Her treatment of him reflected her assumption that he was simply lazy, smug and uncaring. Yes, I was angry, I was outraged, and I was heartbroken, so I created the Crushing Tall Poppies blog to channel my anger into something, anything, that was more positive than the anguish I felt. At the time, crushed was how my family and I felt.

#2

SO, I STARTED THIS BLOG

With this strange, new blogging thingie created and public, I wrote about my feelings on gifted children and how they are miseducated and mistreated by those who do not understand them. Although my blog was public, I was my only reader because I never told anyone, not even my husband, about my blog. It was my own personal therapy to repurpose my despair for what had happened to my son in school, and for what seemed to also happen to far too many gifted children. The suffering and the struggles of gifted children at the hands of people who didn’t understand giftedness was my muse, and I griped and complained to my one and only reader about these injustices. It pays to get things off your chest and my blog therapy was working. I no longer had the urge to throw eggs at those two teachers or slash their tires in the middle of the night (just to be clear, I would have never done that, but did enjoy envisioning it). Surprisingly, I discovered I liked writing, too. All seemed to be getting better in my world. I’ll add a deep, calming sigh at this point in the story.

#3

BUT, IT WASN’T SUPPOSED TO BE TRULY PUBLIC

Yeah, I know, it was technically public from the beginning, which gave me some satisfaction knowing my thoughts on the injustices gifted children faced was out there for anyone to see, but the truth was, I really didn’t want anyone else to read it. In the beginning, I was even using a fake name–Poppy! Honestly, I was just too damn scared for anyone to read what I was writing or to know who was writing this. Everyday that I signed into my blog, I was grateful to see my one and only follower—moi. I felt safe from being ripped to shreds, castigated for my opinions, or criticized for my beliefs about the struggles gifted children experience. Yup, I continued to have no worries there—until the day I was no longer my only reader.

My secret ruse was dually busted in just one day. I signed in as usual only to see I had received a comment on one of my posts, AND another blogger had linked to a post I had written. At that moment, I froze and the only thought in my head was to sign out and never return to my secret blog ever again. Of course, my curiosity to learn more about my other readers won out, and I tried to accept that the secret was out of the bag.

The comment I had received on one of my ranting posts was a simple, “Roar on, Mama!” from a mom of a gifted child. She had her own blog, The Gift of Home–Adventures in Homeschooling, and was writing about her gifted child. This wonderful mother’s comment was the validation I needed to see I was not completely off my rocker, and it spurred me forward. I might add that this wonderful mother and I are now friends and are part of the same gifted circles.

Gathering my courage with a long, deep breath, I went next to find out who in the world would ever want to link to something I wrote. Do you know the incomparable, fabulous and funny Jen over at Laughing at Chaos? She was the one who really outed me. She linked one of my posts into one of her posts (see it here). And that’s when it all hit the fan.

Oh crap. One comment meant one extra reader, but the link meant many more! I had no clue what should happen next—my security and anonymity was blown. The first thing I figured I had better do is tell my husband that for the last three months, I had been writing a secret blog—well, it had been a secret until that infamous day.

So, ready or not, there was no turning back. And I am not ashamed to say on that day, I was freaking out, feeling like I was out in public with my thread-bare pajamas on and no make-up. I had gotten used to that false sense of obscurity knowing that I was my only human reader alongside a few spam bots. It’s been almost three years now. With thousands of comments and hundreds of thousands of views on my blog—I guess I’m okay with it all having gone public.

#4

YES, I AM TRULY PASSIONATE ABOUT BETTERING THE LIVES OF GIFTED CHILDREN

And idealistic, and optimistic, and probably naive—I guess it all works for me. Yes, I am trying to move a mountain even though many have told me to give up since nothing will ever change for gifted children. I don’t believe that and I won’t quit any time soon because I honestly could not live with myself if I didn’t try to change the way schools and society view giftedness. When I see so many gifted children misunderstood, their education neglected, and their parents brushed off as being that parent, I am moved to try to make a difference. I am on a mission because I sincerely believe that no child should have to suffer simply because he was born gifted. That’s my quote and my philosophy!

#5

I’M ON A MISSION

A volunteer mission. This is a full-time, self-imposed, and mostly unpaid position. Yes, I do have an Amazon affiliates link on my website and for full disclosure, I’ve made a grand total of $10.35 to date. I’m not complaining. I knew this gig was voluntary. BUT, if you are so inclined, you could help me promote my book—I’d love to sell more!

But, as long as it is financially feasible, I will continue my mission. I won’t stop trying to move that mountain—unless I need to get a real paying job.

#6

NO, I AM NOT ANTI-PUBLIC SCHOOL OR ANTI-CLASSROOM TEACHER

I have no unwavering loyalty to any one educational setting, be it public school, private school or homeschool. I don’t support only homeschooling, or just public schools. I only support whatever educational choice works best for each individual child and his or her family. Although I homeschool, my children have gone to public schools and private schools. I’ve seen great schools, good schools and bad schools. And the same can be said for homeschooling—I’ve seen where it has been an exceptional education and where it wasn’t so great.

And like anything else in this world, nothing is all good and all bad, and that goes for teachers, too. I call out teachers when they don’t understand the needs and traits of our gifted children. I’ve seen gifted specialists who don’t understand gifted students and regular education teachers who did get gifted.  Yet, having been a public school teacher, I have a teacher’s heart—I can’t drive by an elementary school without feeling the tug to be back in the classroom. But, I know not every teacher is wonderful, and no educational option is perfect either.

#7

I’M NOT BRAGGING

Recently, there was a comment thread on a gifted website discussing a post I had written about envy and gifted children. Shockingly (said with sarcasm), I was proclaimed to be a classic narcissist, and someone actually diagnosed me and my family as needing mental help and I had better get my family in for professional therapy, pronto. They asserted that my post was really just a cryptic form of a humblebrag. The humble part is probably right because I really am humble. And I am respectful, considerate, and often a too-kind-for-my-own-good sort of person. But how else can you write about gifted children without giving real examples of the very traits and behaviors which make them gifted? Gah! It’s not bragging, it’s who these gifted children are!

So hey, if I heard you talking about your child’s typical, age-related behaviors, I could be envious of that right there, and from my perspective, you could be seen as bragging. Average, typical, fitting in, not being an outlier—it all sounds good to me. It’s all a matter of perspective, and your perspective is completely misguided if you think I am bragging about having a gifted child.

#8

THE PEN REALLY IS MIGHTIER THAN THE SWORD

Or in my case, I can be fierce with my written words, but face to face, I am not quite that emboldened. Enough said.

#9

I’D BE NOWHERE WITHOUTH GIFTED HOMESCHOOLERS FORUM

Once my blog had been read by a few hundred people, I became a Gifted Homeschoolers Forum blogger. My life changed forever for the better! Gifted Homeschoolers Forum has the most dedicated, compassionate and thoughtful people I have ever known—and they are quite brilliant, too. They are like family to me. Truly, I’d be nowhere without them. I mean heck, they took a leap of faith and trusted me to write a book, for goodness sakes. Check them out here!

#10

I’VE MADE THE BEST FRIENDS IN THE WORLD THROUGH CRUSHING TALL POPPIES

My blog and my advocacy has led me down many paths in the last two years and seven months, but none so unexpectedly fulfilling as the paths which led me to some of the most exceptional people I’ve ever known. Friends, lifelong friends. Some I’ve met in person, and some who I only know online, but will certainly meet one day, unencumbered no more by a text-only conversation. I may not have moved that mountain just yet, but I have gained some unbelievable friendships! The gifted community rocks!

 

 

Crushing Tall Poppies has brought so much to my life and I can only hope that it has brought a little bit to yours. I’ll continue to advocate for our gifted children and keep pushing to move that mountain. I encourage you to not only be your gifted child’s much-needed advocate, but to also do what you can to advocate for all gifted children, especially those who seem to fall through the cracks at school and in life, unseen and misunderstood. Let’s move that mountain together!

Now, you know the whole story.

 

 

50 Comments on “10 Things You Never Knew About “Crushing Tall Poppies”

  1. The general definition of tall poppy syndrome, TPS, is the need to publicly castigate those of genuine merit. By cutting down someone more successfully, more talented, more beautiful, it makes the miserable narcistics with un-earned high self appraisals of themselves see themselves as inferior. It is infuriating to them. They actually think they look better by screaming hurtful insults in nice public places to the person they were laughing with when they walked in. They expose their ugly raw egos to strangers, screaming like a two year old to his mom in a supermarket. No consideration for paying customers. They actually think everyone wants to hear it.

  2. Oh Celi,
    You have been a brave, supporting, inspiring cyber friend, although we have never met. Thank you for your courage and persistence in educating, advocacy, and putting it all in words so beautifully for us. I can relate to your story.
    I wish I could find a friend like you in my world as a parent. It feels lonely every where, even in our school community, where my child is supposed to be with gifted peers, and I with their parents. You would think that I could find my tribe among them, but I am finding snobbish, arrogance, clickes…I feel that can’t fit “in” and can’t fit “out”. I am starting to understand all the negativity against the gifted, if this is how is represented to others. I will continue to look for you in this blog for support and inspiration. Celi, keep saying it as it is! We are listening 🙂

  3. I always look forward to your blog posts. Your blog was one of the first I found when I started homeschooling, and it was tremendously validating and inspiring to read about your story and experiences in homeschooling.

    • Chavva,

      Thank you for your sweet words. I am so excited to have you in our GHF bloggers group and am looking forward to reading all of your blog posts!

  4. Why not lobby for including it in the dsm-v? I’m being serious. It would also get you the others the support you call for, if it’s officially a condition.

    • Alina,

      Giftedness, in some school districts and states, is addressed under Special Education. That is about as much of a consideration as we have gotten so far, but your suggestion is not off-base. I would only hope others could understand giftedness and accept its inherent traits.

      Thanks, Alina!

      • This would be a great idea.
        Those who are gifted, and those who are 2e, are statistically as different from the mean as those who are categorized as “special education”.

  5. I recently found your blog through GHF blog hop. I love your posts since they are making me see my childhood in a new light through an adults eyes instead of through a gifted child’s eyes. It’s amazing how adults have different agendas toward children. Many of your stories also reaffirm why we chose to be unschoolers instead of sending our son off to public school. Thank you for starting your blog, I enjoy reading about your experiences.

    • Lynda, you are so welcome and I am very happy to hear that what I have written and shared helps you and your family. Homeschooling/unschooling really is a wonderful education for gifted children!

      Thank you for stopping by and sharing a little bit about you and your family!

  6. Thank you so much for all of your posts. I share them in my class newsletters to parents and try to learn from each of your stories. I am a gifted teacher, and this blog has helped me see my students in a whole new light. THANK YOU!

    • You are so welcome, Keli! I am so happy to hear that my posts can help. And thank you so very much for all that you do for your gifted students! We need more teachers like you!!

  7. I like everything you say.Mine is gifted but not home schooled.Just in the gifted and talented class.Right now she is happy there but I wonder is that all there is,pretty much of the time.Even so I would be hard press to be the one who had to challenge her with my limited knowledge.Thanks though for your column,it has a lot of interesting stimulating informative,content.

  8. I love your posts. We all have our stories and most of our stories are a bit similar in that our kids have been misunderstood and mistreated, even by those who were supposed to nurture them. My kids are in college, but how I wish I had had your blog and others to read. In the early years the internet was slow (phone lines only) and information was still scarce. The schools made us parents feel like our kids were the only ones who behaved as they did and who were so needy, with needs different from other kids. They separated us from one another so we couldn’t compare notes. If not for my husband who constantly reassured me, and told teachers who preached doom and gloom, that he had been that kid, I might have fallen for all the unprofessional misdiagnoses of what was wrong with my children. In today’s world, however, people like you are able to write blogs that help parents realize they aren’t crazy or bad parents and that their kids aren’t abnormal. I thank you for what you do and say because you are right on target. I re-post your blogs frequently in my own efforts to contribute to the gifted community in helping parents and in advocating for gifted kids.

    • Thank you, Jennifer, for all that you do to support and advocate for the gifted community!

      I had similar experiences as you did with schools misunderstanding giftedness with my older two children. I was once told by a principal who was also my son’s teacher, “He’s making A’s! What more do you want?” Unfortunately, it seems what happened to you and your children, although several years ago, is still happening today. Advocacy is still very much needed.

      Thank you, Jennifer, for sharing my posts, and for your words of support, but mostly Thank You for advocating for gifted children!

  9. Celi, I am glad your secret was let out of the bag. Your blogs, stories, advice, and evidence has helped me emmencly. I have cried tears of joy knowing I wasn’t alone and have been given inspiration to move mountains too. We have a big mountain to move and we can’t do it alone but we can do it together. Your continued drive for advocacy and your leadership will help get us there. Please keep sharing!!!

    • Dang, Jennifer, now you got me all teared up with your wonderful words! <3

      You are right though, we can move that mountain all together, and I'll keep stirring the pot....er....I mean advocating 😉 !

  10. Celi, you already know you’ve been a singular lifeline for me while I am trying to exorcize the demons of my recently (2011-2013) having been targeted THREE TIMES for adult bullying & harassment. Take courage, I am certain you are such a lifeline for many others. And it’s not just me you’ve helped but you’ve also helped me to understand my 13-year-old son who talks at times like an 18-year-old but the psychologists call him mentally handicapped because he can’t sit still long enough to complete an IQ test properly. If you have been scared, I have been emboldened and encouraged by your dedication to your seemingly impossible cause. Keep up the great work!

    • John,

      I was scared at first, but it is people like you (and so many times it was you), who have supported me and given me courage to continue! I can’t thank you enough, John, for your support and many thoughtful comments! You are so appreciated!

      • Wow, Celi. That’s a huge honour — “and so many times it was you” — to find out that I have been that helpful to you. I have considered myself one of your online friends, but didn’t make a big deal, as (for obvious reasons, i.e., PTSD/anxiety), I’d been minimizing my place in your advocacy and blog, and apparently, your emotional life, too. But I am super-glad to be that helpful. I am your “bulldog”, my dear. That’s how much I appreciate your actions towards me, and the wonderful comment/compliment.
        i should also tell you, I have worked up the courage for the last few months, to be a technical commentator at http://www.quora.com, and now am a “Most Viewed Writer on Linux” and “Most viewed writer on Operating Systems”. You should pat yourself on the back for having encouraged me to accept (part of) who I am (“exceptionally gifted”). Thank you

        • John, having the courage to become a technical commentator on Quora and being a “Most Viewed Writer on Linux” and “Most Viewed Writer on Operating Systems” is all your own doing and an awesome accomplishment. I can take no credit for that. We are all in the same boat here on CTP and are an exceptional community of people who share similar stories. We support and inspire each other by sharing our stories–our struggles and our triumphs–with giftedness. We learn and grow together.

          I do want to thank you for having my back when some of the comments from readers got a little nasty! Mostly, I want to thank you for what you have contributed to our CTP community!

  11. I have been following you for a few months now and I am so glad to have stumbled upon your Crushing Tall Poppies Blog. You have given me hope and courage to do whatever it takes to improve my son’s educational and emotional well being. I am beginning to regain my sanity and partly thanks to your posts and links.

    • Aww, Monica, I don’t know what to say to those wonderful words. I am humbled and thankful that what I have written has been helpful to you and your son! Never lose hope! You’ve got this!

  12. I must have stumbled onto your blog soon after you started it…I’ve been homeschooling my gifted son for 3 1/2 years now (he’s almost 12). I was so thankful to not be alone in my anger and frustration. Most of my family didn’t even understand or “get” my son, or the quest I was on to make his world better for him! But you understood…thank you!

  13. Celi, Bravo! Thanks for sharing your process as a writer and how it unfolded. You write beautifully and have done so much to move advocacy forward. I wish I had seen that appalling comment calling you a narcissist – I would have loved to have fired back at that person! Anyway, looking forward to more of your work in the future.

    • Thanks so much, Gail! Yeah, that narcissist comment was so far off the mark for me, I had to giggle, but I also understood that whenever I talk about gifted children, all the preconceived notions about gifted children being better off than other children can cloud one’s reactions. But, thanks for being willing to have my back! That means the world to me! And many, many thanks for all that you do for helping everyone understand giftedness!

  14. Celi, I love your writing, and I love the help you give to parents through sharing your story and knowledge. Thank you for this post and for everything you do. Please keep working to move the mountain. <3

  15. So thankful you were “discovered” so that we might benefit from all you have to offer!

  16. Hi Celi!…Yours is an important voice in the much-needed conversation on educating the public about the complex needs of gifted individuals. Thank you for all you do!

  17. Celi, I love your story. I am glad to know you and respect your strong, wise, supportive words so much. The world is so fortunate that #3 happened. I wholeheartedly agree with your forst commenter – “Roar on, Mama!”

    • Thanks, Nikki! I’m so thankful you are a part of our gifted community and so, so happy to have you as a friend! And yes, I’m glad I was outed too. And I am so grateful for having the opportunity to advocate for gifted children–it’s been an honor and one of the best times of my life.

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