Relationship between Giftedness and Passion
By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D
I'm Mom to two wonderful children, aged 7 (girl) and 5 (boy).
My girl is above average when it come to examinations (at least
90% and above), she could read all levels of Peter and Jane by
5 years old, goes for tuition twice a week. Other activities
include learning to play the piano (beginners level) and
swimming. She also likes to procrastinate and is generally
quite lazy (she'll get anyone to do anything for her, e.g. get
the maid to wear her socks, bring an empty cup to the sink or
even order her little brother around if she can get away with
it, especially when I'm not around). I believe that she's very
talented and has potential. I don't really bug her with
revision as homework takes up a lot of her time (she's in the
Chinese medium) plus she's slow at getting it down - yes,
As for her piano practice, it's a chore for me as I have to sit
down with her every time and make her do it. But she can play
quite well after playing a song once or twice. The question is,
how do I get to make her responsible and take an interest in
what she's doing? She's very bright and inquisitive, but how do
I find out what she's really good at and nourish this
"talent". I'd also appreciate if you can guide me on
how to keep up with her excellent results in school.
As for my son, he's quite an artist. He can sit
down and draw for e.g. spiderman, with the web on the face
clearly lined and proportioned. He's even able to draw spidey's
hand in action ready to shoot the web. He used to draw Power
Puff girls a lot with facial expressions, like angry, happy or
sad. But ask him to sit down and read, he's lost and won't sit
for long. His sis at this age was reading comfortably. What
he's able to read are books from school which he has memorized.
He won't be able to read the same word from another book.
I'm not sure if my children are gifted or if
this is what you had in mind when you gave us the chance to
post a question. But I'd appreciate if you can help me out.
p/s: I guess I should let you know that my
husband and I are separated though he sees them everyday, if
he's not out of town on business. They were also separated from
me for about 3 years when the marriage broke down. They only
came back to stay with me a year ago. They were very attached
to me despite the separation and still is. Thanks.
Your daughter sounds like an achiever and a very busy little
girl! I don't think she is really lazy. As parents, we need to
understand that if a child is gifted, s/he would do anything that
has a purpose and is meaningful to them. If they don't see an end
reason for doing something, they might very well just not do it
or do it sloppily. Your daughter may be good in piano but may not
be interested in it, hence finds excuses to get away or
procrastinate. You must remember that gifted children operate
with intrinsic motivation, not extrinsic. Only then you will see
good results. I believe you may not be looking at laziness with
regards to your daughter, perhaps more so a response of
disinterest in the task she is asked to accomplish. My
suggestion, please don't push her to do something she may not
have interest in. One would need to have passion for something to
be exceptional and you need to find out what that is for your
daughter. Since she is 7 already, I believe you may be able to
talk to her and find out what she likes. Allow her to indulge in
activities that interests her. If you are not for it, rationalize
with her. Gifted students are believed to have a high power of
reasoning and would respond well to rationalization rather than
order. To help her keep up with her good performance at school,
make learning fun and exciting for her. You may want to learn
with her, ask her questions from her lessons (in a way to show
her that you are not too sure and need her to explain), play
educational games with her, understand her difficult areas and
seek help if you are not sure.
As for your son, he appears to have mastered some rather fine and
essential psychomotor skills at a young age. He may not be as
fast as your daughter in terms of his reading ability, but you
must understand that each child has different developmental
stages. Also, you may want to check if there is anything that may
have contributed to his reading problems, perhaps a condition
called dyslexia (which can be treated). Check with an educational
psychologist to rule out any other possibilities. If any reading
disability has been ruled out, perhaps he needs help in a
different way to read. If he enjoys drawing, help him learn and
recognize words in a drawing manner. You may need to consult a
reading specialist to help him.
Family issues more often than not affect children, especially
young ones. The separation may not have been good for them
(looking at the time span) but I believe you are trying hard to
make things better as a family. You need to do this continually
to give them the confidence that they are loved no matter what.
The fact that their father visits them regularly helps and it
would be good to include him in their educational pursuits.
Gifted children have heightened sensitivity and may be more prone
to socio-emotional difficulties as they would expect perfection
in most of the things. You have a tough job and may have to put
in additional effort, but I believe you will be able to support
them well and from your letter, you are doing a great job!