Parenting gifted children is hard. But it is also incredibly rewarding – here are 4 of its undeniable joys.
Last week, B noticed a neighbor boy standing outside our home. He had a tablet, and the camera was facing the front windows.
I cringed. The storm door strained on its hinges.
“I SAID, HEY! WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’RE DOING???”
My Joan of Arc flew down the front steps, her long dress flowing behind her like the French flag as she gained on our startled voyeur.
The kid started walking. Backwards. Away from B.
“I’m gonna put this on YouTube!” he said. “What’s wrong with that?”
“It’s NOT safe. Now you give me that tablet so I can delete that video RIGHT. NOW.”
I stood in the doorway. The boy picked up his pace, made eye contact with me.
He started jogging.
B matched him.
He started running.
B took off full force down the sidewalk, a guttural wail issuing from the pit of her stomach.
“Honey, B’s chasing down neighbor boy again. Should I go after her?”
“Nah. She’ll set him straight.” A chuckle. “Poor kid…..”
We’d been making plans for the afternoon in the moments before B’s quest for honor. Our scheduled trip to the park flew out the window, caught in the tailwind from our hero’s quick departure. I followed her of course, rescuing the hero from herself, but by the time I got her in the house, calmed down, and redirected onto something else, our window for an excursion had passed.
Truthfully, I was a little put out. I like an orderly, routine, structured life, and my current situation is anything but. As I swigged a glass of wine like water and resigned myself to an afternoon at home, I thought about the fire that ignited B’s actions. It’s the same fire that glows within each of my children, motivating them to do daring, brilliant, wonderful things.
Parenting gifted children isn’t the gig I anticipated.
It’s a beautiful one, though, full of incredible joy.
Four Incredible Joys of Parenting Gifted Children
My son was quiet at birth. So quiet, in fact, I had to ask if he was breathing.
“Sure is, mama. He’s just looking around!”
You probably noticed it, too, the searching, seeking infant gaze that looked not at but through you. It’s a marker of an insatiable curiosity, a desire to know, experience, discover, and explore.
It’s the reason you couldn’t leave him alone even for five minutes for fear he might take apart the internet router.
It’s a thirst for knowledge that ignites the whole family and leads you down rabbit holes of Wonderland proportions.
Your poppy just gets things. She understands motivations, concepts, and abstract ideas most adults can’t comprehend. It’s why she devotes hours to coordinating rescue efforts for chronically endangered animals. It is an undeniable depth, an uncanny ability to get to the heart of the matter.
G was five and half when I developed the martian death flu. I lay on the floor, moaning; her small hand enveloped mine.
“Don’t worry, Mommy. Remember the string.”
“The invisible string between our hearts.”
There are uncharted waters in the gifted soul. It’s exhilarating to watch them surface.
Elaborate Lego houses.
Intricate pen and ink drawings.
Dramatic play that lasts for hours.
Gifted children breathe creativity. In our house this means artwork everywhere, from paper to walls and everything in between. This also means intricate plot and character development, an imaginary world spilling from my daughters’ bedroom door. I can’t count the times I’ve run for cover, pursued by a dragon, a princess, and a valiant, diaper-clad knight.
Yes, this is a joy.
Yes, I know it’s trying.
But it’s the passion – the joy with which your child tackles ideas and tasks that makes the heartache worth it. It’s the knowledge that some day, with our help, these sensitivities will be channeled into something big.
Our children’s intensity has the capacity to change the world, assuming we can keep them from burning it down.
Parenting gifted children is exhilarating.
It’s equal parts admiration and abject terror, unbridled respect and dread. Navigating the waters of successful poppy parenting can be enough to make you call for mutiny, but its a vocation with rewards far outweighing the struggle.
There’s invaluable joy in the chaos.