Incoming president of the NAGC, Dr. Del Siegle, has written a Gifted Children's Bill of Rights as his introductory president's column in this month's Parenting for High Potential. My favorite part is the first one:
"Gifted children have a right to know about their giftedness
Parents and teachers are often reluctant to talk with children about their giftedness for a variety of reasons. Parents may not be sure what it means to be gifted or how their children became gifted. They may worry that giving children information about their identifications as gifted causes them to feel superior or elitest. How we talk with children about their giftedness can have a dramatic impact on the way they view themselves and the daily challenges they face. Children need to understand that giftedness is not something that was bestowed upon them. While it is true the gifted students often acquire skills more quickly and easily than their peers, gifted children do learn these skills over time. They may have taught themselves to read, or learned to read esaily at an early age, but they still learned to read. It is important for gifted children to recognize that the talents they possess are acquired, they had something to do with acquiring them, and they are capable of further devloping these talents and even acquiring new ones. They need to learn to take responsibility for developing their gifts. They need to understand that having to work hard does not mean they are not gifted and that working hard can even make them more gifted."
All you parents and teachers of gifted kids out there, embroider this into samplers and post it on the schoolhouse door. You can't be gifted in math until someone teaches you how to count. You can't be verbally gifted, unless someone, probably a lot of people, talk to you and read to you and answer your questions. I encourage everyone to find a copy of Dr. Siegle's complete essay. It's fabulous.