It’s not in the blood

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Anna Paquin and her Academy Award for best supporting actress

Recently there was a documentary programme that aired on the public broadcaster about giftedness. What I enjoyed about it is that it showed the gifted child's perspective on the world and life, it chronicled what being different is like. As any self-respecting suburban mum I have watched at least two episodes of that sordid American show Toddlers and Tiaras, which is about children (toddlers) who participate in pageants — it's horrific!

The reason I have gifted children on my mind is that though none of my children are geniuses (that we know of) or superstars they are more gifted that either hubby or I ever were at that age. Throughout my school career I was never the best at anything. Granted I tried and applied myself — especially in languages — and I was consistently in the top 10 best students (remember those lists?) I wrote and edited my languages home-work, I even did extra reading but alas, never first.

My daughter on the other hand was the founder and editor of the bi-weekly student newsletter at her primary school, she dances beautifully and because of that she won a scholarship and she gets to dance more often. She's an artistic sensitive girl whose best friend decided to end the friendship in grade six because she wanted to trade in her library card for the junior credit cars her parents had gotten her.

I couldn't relate to that, I'm still friends with people I knew at creche, I met my best friend in grade 10 and we spent our days at the ice cream parlour  and the school library talking about boys. She understood me.

The biggest fear I have for my children, that they'll feel misunderstood and isolated. One of the mothers in the preschool carpool had the nerve to tell me to get my youngest checked for ADD because while the other children discussed cartoons he wanted to tell them a story of his imaginary dragon. Not only does he have an active and colourful imagination, he also is very intelligent. So I try to cater to those needs and keep him properly stimulated; there's art class, comedy class and he joined the chess club at school on his own.

My husband wasn't much of a sports man at school, but when he recognised our oldest son's interest in sports he engaged him, he's been to all the game, which is why being away from home is so hard on them both.

Granted, my children aren't geniuses or prodigies (okay maybe my son is a future Spingbok or Bafana player.) As a parent I have to abolish all of that "when I was your age" mentality because these are different times and we're different people.


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