Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Your Child IS Gifted!

Remember when I wrote a little while back that I was wanting to write about the 'giftedness' of all children? I haven't been inspired to do so yet....until today. Somehow a copy of "Parents" magazine ended up in my mailbox; I definitely did not order it, as I have never cared much for the publication.

After wondering why this magazine came to me, I turned my attention to the cover :"How To Tell If Your Child Is Gifted."  Wow. Can you picture a young mother reading this and quickly turning to the right page to determine the extent of her child's gifts? Or...maybe her child isn't even gifted at all, but here's how to tell.

So I turn to the article, and how convenient: There's a chart titled : "Is Your Child Gifted Or Just Smart?" Seriously? I can read a little box chart in "Parents" magazine to find out if I have just an average smart kid or an OOH 'gifted' child.

The article discusses different options for 'gifted' children and claims that "the lack of options for gifted kids may be due to the ambivalence Americans feel about anything that smacks of elitism." (p63) Excuse me? Schools aren't good enough for some kids because no- one wants to admit how amazing those kids are? Is it just me...or is this extremely offensive?

I'm no big fan of  Amy Chua, the "Tiger mother," but I will say one thing in her defense: In her mind every child is "gifted." Every child can do it. And isn't this true? Aren't all children 'gifted' in their own ways? Howard Gardner in his book, Multiple Intelligences,  expounds on his theory that all children have gifts, or 'intelligences' as he refers to them; it is up to parents and mentors to foster and nurture the gifts specific to that child.

Maybe some children lean towards science. Maybe towards music or art. Maybe a child can't draw at all, but he is happiest expressing himself in that way. Isn't that a gift?  One child may have an incredible sense of humor, while another child can listen and empathize ...all gifts.

To gain clarity on this issue, I turned to 1Corinthians, chapter twelve. Will you take time to read this? God's word always defines truth.  The truth about giftedness is crucial to the understanding and development of our children and ourselves if we are going to become who God has called us to be:

4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.

7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues,[a] and to still another the interpretation of tongues.[b] 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.

12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by[c] one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.

15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 28 And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues[d]? Do all interpret? 31 Now eagerly desire the greater gifts.