Tuesday, June 1, 2010

What I learned

When Michael Phelps was a young lad and it became apparent that he was quite the swimmer, he received coaching, access to top notch facilities, trainers dedicated time to him to make him better and most of all he practiced a whole lot.  Tiger Woods, while not such a popular guy right now, spend countless hours practicing golf and being trained in the skills he would need to excel.  The William's girls played tennis every day.  They had a tennis court in their suburban backyard.

All the athletes, while definitely athletically gifted, had to work, practice and had access to top notch trainers and facilities.  They did not get to where they are now by doing nothing.  Their coaches did not say, "Oh, he is athletically gifted, he will be ok, we do not need to focus our energies on him."  Quite the opposite happened, they put MORE resources towards these individuals to help their achieve their potential.

Can some explain to me why this philosophy is not applied to our intellectually gifted children?  When I sit in school board meetings and talk to teachers I am told, "Oh, he is really smart, you don't have to worry about him, he will be ok, just let him work on his own."  The exact opposite of what they say to the athletically gifted individuals.  If we do not harness the brain power of today's youth, we will not find the cures for cancer, world peace and next internet.  We have to train our intellectually gifted children.

When you have a child that is really good at sports, it tends to be ok to talk about little Johnny making All-State or winning an award, but when you kids are really smart it isn't ok to talk about it.  We need to change the way we look at things, we need to start to value smartness too.  Mac is, intellectually, in the top 2% of this country.  He is intellectually gifted in the same way that Michael Phelps is athletically gifted.  It is my belief that he deserves the same type of training as an athlete.

That is what I learned at my meeting.  I also learned how to help him get that training on our own, because until the schools change their philosophy, they will only be part of the solution.  You could argue that the school athletic programs were only part of the solution for Michael Phelps. It is time for me to take a more active role in training him to utilize his full potential.

I am so grateful to my friend who took me to this meeting to help me start to be able to find the resources that I need, and to clarify what steps needed to be taken.  It sounds like bragging to me when I talk about Mac, but it is our reality, and we struggle to figure out how to manage this situation.  Trust me when I say it does not come without its issues.  I remember talking to a friend about Mac, and she has a "traditional" special needs child.  She told me that she just wants her son to reach his full potential, and that is why she needs the extra services.  Well, guess what, so do I. 

So, I learned that I need a training regimen.  Now to create it!

1 comment:

  1. Being intelligent is a gift, so that's why they call it gifted. There never should be shame in it. I think that was created by the jocks who liked to make smart people into the geeks. When was a jock ever valedictorian though.
    Treasure your son's gift and I hope you find ways to share it with the world. :)