As I reflected inwards, and looked at generations past and present, I can say as a whole I have a very creative family tree. There are members who sang opera, became professors, created beautiful art, worked within nuclear engineering, and answered the call to help others. We are not eminent, but we have immense potential. Giftedness courses through our family tree. It pops up more apparent, more academically, in some than in others. And that my friends, is okay. It is who we are. It is part of us.
Gifted individuals need to know and understand that giftedness is part of their identity. This is the basis of our #ohiogtchat tonight. I invited Sharon Duncan and Dr. Grace Malonai to discuss gifted identity formation with us tonight. These ladies are the founders of the Gifted Identity Project, http://www.giftedidentity.com/, and they are both wonderful, warm-hearted people wanting to bring insight and guidance to parents as they learn about their own gifted children as well as recognize their own giftedness.
Validation of one's giftedness comes from the "acknowledgment that one's giftedness exists as corroborated by others or by oneself" by people close to the gifted person, such as parents or teachers. A parent reading a book about giftedness with their child will create a solid, positive self-image for that child. It validates his or her giftedness in the eyes of a person important to the child.
Affirmation of one's giftedness comes through interacting with others, learning and experiencing through the use of his or her gifted abilities. "It is the ongoing, interactive process between self as gifted and the world. The process reinforces in the self that 'I am gifted.'" This can include a challenging learning environment that pushes the child's abilities, and where he or she learns how taking risks can lead to positive results.
Affiliation with one's giftedness is finding others with similar interests or intensities, their "tribe," where he or she is acknowledged by peers/siblings/colleagues and accepted. "Included in this process is recognition of the need for belonging and feeling that "who I am" has a place and meaning." Many parents and teachers may see gifted children deny their giftedness in order to be accepted or belong to groups where their uniqueness is not acceptable.
"The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled ~ Plutarch
Affinity for one's giftedness is kindling the "fire of the self." Fulfilling what is considered a calling to the gifted person, or a passion. By doing this he or she supports the self, giving him or her purpose, a mission. "Unmet affinity creates anguish, making life more tenuous. 'If I can't fulfill my calling, then I will never have a sense of fulfillment and relief from my angst.'" (bold lettering my own)
Giftedness lasts a lifetime. So how do we support through the lifespan? The Journey Lasts Lifetime After Lifetime, http://www.giftedidentity.com/the-journey-lasts-lifetime-after-lifetime/
And if we recognize that giftedness spans throughout an individual's life, then we must consider how we take care of our gifted elders. Joy Navan, Ph.D. writes on her blog http://ongiftedelders.com about the needs and ways to care for our gifted elders.
See our Storify story at https://storify.com/mrjshoemaker/ohiogtchat-march-20