I hate the term “open letter.” That’s why, when Farrah Alexander wrote this amazing article for HuffPo titled “Maybe My Child Is Gifted. Maybe Not. Maybe It Doesn’t Matter” and began to receive backlash in the form of open letters, I rolled my eyes. I am not a combative person. At all. Most people can probably tell you that I strive to be kind to everyone and want the best for everyone and their kids (gifted or not). But these parents who are trolling someone for a nice article may not have actually read it.
As a mom with two boys who are gifted with Autism, I can relate to Farrah’s article completely! She isn’t saying that being gifted isn’t difficult or attempting to tell you that your child with extra skills doesn’t matter. She also isn’t saying that being different makes you superior OR inferior. The article doesn’t address that. What it does address is the fact that no matter what your children’s abilities, you should support them in any way possible. Be that advocating for extra programs in school or outside of it, enrolling them in ABA therapy for 32 hours per week, or supporting whatever they decide to obsess over for that week…as parents we are going to do whatever is in our power as an imperfect human adult to help them reach for the stars. This article reminded me to have hope for my children’s futures. Sometimes, the battles we face eclipses the beauty of the journey and I know I’ve forgotten that every once in a while. Because even though my kids might not be 100% in line with their peers in language, people skills, or even something simple like asking for help when they need it—they might be some day. They have something some may see as a disability and it is SO difficult sometimes. And frustrating. And amazing. It’s part of who they are. So, they possibly aren’t gifted. But it doesn’t matter.
One day, you might not be able to tell them apart from other kids. One day, I might be able to carry entire conversations with Tristan, even though now at age 5, I have to correct him when he says “Hi, Tristan” instead of “Hi, Mama.” But a few years ago, he said nothing. Both Tristan and Graham need a lot help and care at the moment, but someday maybe they won’t. Can you imagine? It’s beautiful to watch our kids grow into their personalities and abilities, isn’t it? These personalities may or may not come with gifts labeled as “gifted,” but as long as we love and support them and teach them to treat others with respect (even when we don’t agree), it’ll be an amazing world one day. Don’t you agree?
I’m not linking to the “open letters” on purpose, but I am sure you’ll be able to find them via the google machine.