Unschooling: Living Without School; Living Free Range-Freedom to Learn What One Wants When One Wants

Thursday, March 20, 2014

What is Gifted Anyway?

For 13 years I kept my eye on the gold. For 13 years I strove to be the best, no matter what it took. Sometimes with success. Sometimes to no avail. Failure, however, was no option. That is, failing my teachers, my school, and my family. At any cost, I would reach the goal that had been set for me since birth. What about my goals for me? Did I even have any or were these just the goals I thought I wanted to reach. I am green with envy for those "rebels" who fought for what they knew THEY wanted. I digress.

I was labeled gifted at the earliest age they could "test." Placed in gifted classes, a class that set me apart from the whole school, set special expectations for me, and made me feel, well-superior. I liked it. I was "smart" and I knew it. What is smart anyway?

I graduated early, in 2009, in the top 5% of my class-with honors, and with a baby to boot! I reached the line I had been racing for since I was 5 years old. I still felt-superior, to be perfectly honest, but the satisfaction in that was really less than anticipated. Now what?

The next step was seemingly obvious. College. But somehow college didn't give me that fulfillment I was looking for. I was running in circles, doing the same stuff I had done the last 13 years. Is there any end to this? We as humans, are on a never ending quest, for knowledge, but was this knowledge? I was a duck with an injured foot, trying to swim in water, but not getting anywhere. I wanted real knowledge. I wanted more than what you could find in your text book. So...I quit. WHAT??!!! "BLASPHEMY!" They said.

I am not a student. But without a college education, I am a writer. I am a speaker. I am a counselor. I am a researcher. A gardener. A cook. A Mom. And an amazing teacher.

And I learned all this by myself and with the gentle guidance of others. I learned it without any special labels or being made to feel superior or inferior. I made my own goals and my own time frames. I didn't have a set of gifted curriculum. I simply did things...my way. I reached where I wanted to be and I either kept going, delving deeper into my studies or I got what I needed-and stopped.

And I realize now, labels are nothing. Labels are based off a test or by our learning styles. What we are labeled is for some crazy, messed up reason, sets the course for our lives. It dictates our self worth. Our goals. And even our outcomes.

So what is gifted anyway? It isn't really a title we take with us when we leave school. In fact, it never benefited me at all after graduation. If anything, it was the reason I felt like such a failure when I left college. Or when I made a B. Or messed up. But I'm gifted. How could this be? Gifted didn't mean invincible, but I had been molded to think it did...

So what do we do with this information? I think we drop the human standards that we hold ourselves up to and look in the mirror. Find out what we want for ourselves? What did God plan for us to become? We could think on that for awhile...

So in the famous words of author David H. Albert, just do these things..."Have Fun. Learn Stuff. Grow."

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