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Anxiety about COVID 19? Lift others up.

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There are a lot of people anxious, worried, and freaking out right now over the COVID 19 Pandemic. One thing that freakouts, worries, and anxiety have in common is that it is all in our heads. A true war in our minds that tries to hold our peace hostage and take out all hope in our lives. As Viktor Frankl stated in his book, Man’s Search for Meaning, “Prison bars imagined are no less solid steel.” Dr. Frankl’s realization of this helped him survive the Nazi Prison Camp that he was in.

Why am I writing about COVID 19 on my Understanding Giftedness site? Two reasons:

  1. My mission here is to combine giftedness and Christianity. I am bringing awareness to the Christian community about how God uniquely created your gifted children and, likely, yourself.
  2. Gifted people, all of us, have a very rich imagination and intense emotions that can either send us into a downward spiral or propel us into inspiring hope.

It is of the utmost importance that as a gifted person you propel your mind toward hope so that, united, we can help lift our brothers and sisters up who are struggling with this pandemic. They turn to us with their questions. This isn’t a time to be humble about that or a time to flaunt our knowledge, but it is a time to realize that it is a truth for so many of us. It’s the same thing that we do as well. We turn to someone that we believe will know the answers to the questions we’re seeking answers to.

Lifting a person takes a lot more strength than it does to just walk with a person down an adventurous road, and the world right now is hiking switchbacks up a mountain. Thus, I want to help you inspire others to lift others and I want you to be able to inspire those you’re carrying to be able to hike effectively on their own. Staring Today, start taking a simple step into the gym of your faith. It’s time to go straight-up cross-fit extreme about faith-building.

How do you do that?

Simple.

Remember that whatever you feed grows. Take those anxieties that you’re feeling right now and instead of having them fuel your fears, make them submit to you (I mean, they’re YOUR anxieties, make them do what YOU tell them to) and fuel your FAITH! Your anxiety can literally push you CLOSER to the FATHER.

Read Matt 6: 28-34. Here’s my favorite version from The Message:

Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? All this time and money wasted on fashion—do you think it makes that much difference? Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them.

30-33 “If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.

34 “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.

God is doing something in the midst of the pandemic and it’s a GREAT idea for us to join Him in what He is doing on our planet. Start this weekend. Ask God how you can help. Join in and be a part of divine intervention and solution. Even better, be a part of others being inspired to follow Christ and become saved, strong, and empowered themselves. No matter if they believe in giftedness or not, God loves ALL of His children and has equipped each of us for a unique work that He planned for us to do long ago. We are called to love and help everyone.

Here’s a practical way to start this weekend: Gage your content. We are what we eat mentally and emotionally. What is the source of the majority of the content that you’re taking in about COVID 19? Is it Biblical or secular media? Are you spending more time talking to The Father about this pandemic or Facebook? Instagram? Are you getting your downloads from Heaven or Google? Whatever you feed grows. Whatever your eat produces that particular fruit. Eat fear, produce fear fruit. Eat faith, produce faith fruit. It’s as simple as that.

Don’t think for a second that God is freaking out over this virus. Satan is the only one freaking out because he knows that EVERYTHING hidden in darkness is brought into the Light. Satan also knows that he cannot control God’s people with fear, anxiety, worry, depression, etc…when we refuse to eat his fear-filled fruit.

Wash your hands. Trust Jesus. Go lift some people up!

the very things…

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“Gifted children need academic guidance and support for their talent areas, and they also need support in social and emotional areas…. They often hear such things as: “You’re too sensitive! You’re too intense! You have a strange sense of humor. Do you always have to be creative? Why do you question every rule?” This makes children begin to think that something is wrong with him/her, but these are the very things that make them gifted!” – Dr. Jim Webb

High Achiever vs Gifted Learner

What Teachers Expect

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The High Achiever

Have you ever wondered to yourself, “I know that my child is smarter than average, so why is he/she still not being invited to be in the school’s gifted and talented program?” If so, trust me, you are not alone. As of 2014, only 25% of gifted children are considered to also be high achievers at school. This has nothing to do with the child’s academic potential and everything to do with the child’s attitude toward his/her subject matter and/or teacher in the classroom. Unfortunately, however, most teachers do not understand this fact about gifted children. Most teachers still believe that gifted children are high achievers. So, what do high achievers look like in the classroom? They are the students who:

1. Know all the answers
2. Always raise their hand
3. Are teacher pleasers
4. Complete and turn-in their homework
5. Stress over making the honor roll
6. Do not mind group work
7. Follow directions
8. Easily conform to a variety of classroom environments
and the list just goes on and on.

The Gifted Learner

The majority of gifted children, an estimated 75% in American schools, are not high achievers. They are highly intelligent, but they often get overlooked for their schools’ various gifted and talented programs. Thus, even though they have the higher intelligent quotients (IQ ratings) than the majority of their same-age peers and more academic potential, they may not be displaying the same amount of academic achievement as their high achiever peers. Here is a brief list of what gifted children look like in the classroom:
1. They do not know all the answers, but they know more than the average child about topics that interest them.
2. They do not always follow classroom rules, because the rules do not make sense to them.
3. They have a tendency to have issues with authority-unless they really like their teacher.
4. They have a tendency to not complete their homework or forget to turn it in.
5. They do not stress over being on the honor roll.
6. They do mind group work and would much rather work alone.
7. They have a tendency to make up their own directions concerning assignments, and they have a tendency to have a better reason to implement their idea than to follow yours.
8. They do not easily conform to a variety of classroom environments,

Teachers Often Get the WRONG Impression

Sometimes, our gifted and talented children can also be labeled as disrespectful or as trouble-makers in school. They generally master the class material in half the time it takes a high achiever to grasp the concepts, they get bored and start goofing off, texting, playing on their phones, or just staring into space daydreaming instead of being engaged during class. This behavior can come across as being quite rude and disrespectful to many teachers.
On the other hand, when the gifted child is excited about the class material, she may be overly excited during class. She may ask question after question until the teacher no longer has an answer, thus embarrassing the teacher in front of the class or making the teacher think the student is being ridiculous in questioning. She may know MORE about the class topic than the teacher and correct her teacher when they are not up-to-date on all the facts being presented to the class. Likewise, she may also speak out of turn or just appear to be overly zealous about the class material. Oftentimes, this behavior also comes across to teachers as being disrespectful, because the child is appearing to be too hyper.

How Can Parents Help?

So, as a parent, how do you fix this issue in education? I often recommend trying to find a charter school, a private school, or even try to home school your gifted student. If these types of educational settings are just not going to work with your family’s circumstances, then research the teachers at your school. Find the teachers who truly understand and love gifted kids. Request and even demand that your child is put in those teacher’s classrooms. The teachers who are generally more creative, laid-back, and truly love gifted children have great responses from gifted children naturally. Even if the subject matter is the most boring subject on planet earth, because your child likes her teacher, she will perform well in the class.
Gifted children are great at reading their teachers. They need teachers who are real people, not fake, not political, and who genuinely care and like their gifted students. As children morph into tweens and then teens, you may begin to notice a trend in your child’s academic grades and success. Oftentimes, our gifted child’s attitude toward his/her teacher determines the child’s grade in the class moreso than his/her actual ability.

Trajectory: Significance

Kids are stressed these days. I see it everywhere. High school, middle school, and even more and more elementary students are stressed, and it’s not because of a standardized test. Their stress is coming from something deeper then a test score. It’s a stress that makes them strive to meet certain societal standards so they can feel good about themselves. The more they chase after these standards, the more stressed out they get. If they meet a certain standard and then lose it (ex. being president of the student council and then not getting voted in for president the following year), then it just devastates them. It tells them that they’re a failure. They tried. They lost. Game over.

As the kids get older, this stress is more like a slow  growing cancer of awareness that they have no idea who they are without their accomplishments. “I’m an honor student.” “I’m the captain of the swim team.” “I’m a member of the National Honor Society.” That’s great. Those are fantastic accomplishments, but I’m not asking you to list your accomplishments. I’m asking you, “who are you?”  Silence. They don’t know.  All they know is that they are striving to meet certain standards to feel good about themselves. Standards that most people never meet and if they do, they are not able to maintain that standard for very long before burn out hits.

These unrealistic standards be it physical, emotional, social, intellectual, or even sexual in nature destroy these kids’ self-confidence, self-worth, and eventually their ability to reach their true potential due to a significant fear of failure. The fear of failure will lead to these children displaying emotions of guilt, anger, resentment, jealousy, envy, perfectionism, and even isolation, just to name a few. It is fear based, and fear is never a good foundation for anyone, especially the gifted, to try to build a life upon.

It is crucial for parents, teachers, coaches, counselors, and any other child care-giver to learn to separate the child’s “do” from their “who.” I am never impressed with what a gifted child can do. Gifted children do amazing things all the time, that’s just their performance nature. So, their “do” is never something that really impresses me, because what I care about it “who” they are. What kind of person are they? What is the essence of their soul?

What we are able to accomplish should never define us. What should define us is who we are, and knowing who you are is what will intrinsically motivate the gifted child to become a success in life. It will give him/her the ability to jump back up when they get knocked down. Resilience. It will give them the ability to sustain the pressures of the human life without becoming codependent on drugs/alcohol/ or others. It will make them live a life of meaning and leave a legacy of inspiration for generations to come.

If you are interested in learning more about how to help your children overcome the negative pressures of society, peers, the media, etc…. and inspire them to accept who God created them to be, you may want to grab some friends and set a date to go through my workshop for parents, “Gifted 103: Trajectory Significance”

 

Gifted? My Kid? Really?

It is time to talk about what giftedness really looks like in action. – Dr. Suzy Thompson 

I fell through the cracks of the schoolhouse floorboard. I went to a 4A public school. I was identified above “average” but below the gifted class. I sat in class for years bored out of my mind and mastering the art of daydreaming my way through high school.  Once I got tired of living in my head to survive excruciating boredom during the school day, I decided to just go ahead and leave school.  I started skipping class. I started missing days. The idea of going to school felt like a jail sentence to me, and there was definitely no way I was going to be identified as a gifted student with the behavior I was displaying.   I got an attitude and started acting out. I decided that everyone was stupid. I decided that it would be better for me to just get a GED and get out of there, start college, and live a productive life. My parents decided I needed a high school diploma and attitude change. Two worlds colliding in the most unharmonious fashion.  Yet, looking back, I realize that the bulk of my behavior issues came from the excruciating boredom. All the times I would sit in class and think to myself, “Oh my gosh, quit asking questions people! Why can’t you just get this? Why are we going over this AGAIN???” I was miserable and thought that high school was just a waste of time.

Maybe you have a kid who expresses similar things to you about his/her peers. Maybe you see where your kid isn’t being challenged enough at school. If you know that your child is bright and can answer yes to four or more of these questions, then you may have a gifted child on your hands.

Are you sure your child is ADHD and not just bored in school? Do you feel like your child’s social life is missing something? Do you notice that your child has an adult sense of humor and has since a very young age? Do you feel like people just do not understand him/her ? Do he/she have issues with authority? Does your child not necessarily know all the answers but asks the most interesting questions? Have you noticed that your child is drawn to novel things, people, places? Have you noticed how passionate your child can be? Have you ever thought to yourself, “I wonder if my kid is bipolar” with his/her emotional highs and lows? Does your teen have a better reason for not doing something than you have for asking him/her to do it? Has he/she ever mastered something (a sport, hobby, musical instrument, etc..) and then just quit because he/she got bored with it? Does your child have peculiar likes/dislikes when it comes to food or clothing textures? Have you ever noticed if your child’s grades were a reflection of his/her attitude toward his/her teacher moreso than his/her actual intellectual ability? Is your child more likely to ask the most interesting questions moreso than know all the answers? Is your child extremely passionate? Does your child have a tendency to want justice and fairness at all times? Has your child ever spit something out of his/her mouth bot because it tasted bad but because of texture? Did your child hit puberty early or late?

Have you answered yes to any of these questions?