School was not my friend when it came to demonstrating my potential. I could post a snapshot of my high school report card, but it would be ugly. For me, effort was not the problem and I refuse to believe it had to do with my intellectual potential, which I really questioned at the time. In school, I felt disabled.
A mere 14 months separates me from my youngest sister, who happened to thrive in the school setting. She learned well, tested well and did well. Im not sure if she made a B in her life. Did I mention she was in the Governors Program for Gifted Children? Me? Not so much. Dont get me wrong, she worked hard for all of the accolades, and deserved them. It was, however, very difficult following in her footsteps. I vividly remember a meeting with my mother and fifth grade teacher, who told me I was just as smart as my sister. I, too, was gifted; I just needed to try harder and apply myself.
I didnt feel gifted. Im guessing I felt a lot like children who dont qualify for gifted programs. Sadly, I think these programs perpetuate the notion that some children are smarter than others. When in reality, I believe these programs simply measure one very narrow slice of aptitude. All children are intelligent, just in different ways.
I have since discovered the issue is not one of being gifted; it is about feeling gifted. So our challenge is to highlight the unique gifts in every child and celebrate them. By doing so, our children stand a better chance of thriving in their journey toward adulthood. Funny, in my work as an adult, I dont feel disabled at all. If anything I feel gifted.