This past summer I had dinner with friends I don’t see all that often. We chatted about a wide variety of topics, and naturally, our kids were among the many things we discussed. One of the women had gone through a difficult year with her son’s now former school. “You know,” she said,” it can be pretty isolating when you have a gifted child. It can sound like you are bragging when really all you want is to have your child in a positive environment where they are engaged and accepted for who they are.“
That had certainly been my feeling as we navigated through our child’s primary school years. And then I recalled the first parent education night I attended at Mackintosh two years ago. Due to traffic, the intended speaker was late, so as we waited, parents were asked to introduce themselves and tell us their child’s name and grade. Each parent also told a little story about their child, and that took up the majority of the time.
It became clear to me that my husband and I had unknowingly supported and accommodated a lot of gifted behaviors:
- high intensity,
- razor sharp focus when interested in a topic,
- insatiable thirst for knowledge when interested in a topic,
- the need to be on time or early for events,
- and oddly enough, wearing clothes in a manner not originally intended.
These were just a few of the behaviors discussed that evening that resonated with me. I had an immediate sense of kinship to every parent in the room. And it was affirming to realize that each parent in the room was as committed as I was to provide emotional and intellectual support for his/her child (ren). It felt like we were all in it together.
As a benefit of our son attending Mackintosh Academy, my parenting skills have improved through both informal and formal channels. The informal is realized through talking with parents and teachers and hearing how they have responded to a variety of situations. In talking with other parents I have learned to become a better advocate for my child.
The more formal channel is the Parent Education events Mackintosh conducts in both Boulder and Littleton. For instance, Mackintosh is hosting several screenings of the movie Most Likely to Succeed followed with a panels to discuss how we can best prepare our children for the future.
I have also learned from Mackintosh parents about a good number of on-line resources, with just a small representation listed here (in alphabetical order):
- Center for Bright Kids
- Davidson Institute for Talent Development
- Hoagies Gifted Education Page
- Institute for Educational Advancement
- John Hopkins Center for Talented Youth
- National Association for Gifted Children
- SENG: Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted
- Stanford University Gifted and Talented Program
My son will leave Mackintosh in two years for high school, so I am now exploring high school options, and talking to parents whose children transitioned into high school to see what they, both students and parents, learned along the way. My son’s education continues, as does mine.
~Kathy Yates, Mack mom