I’m just going to be blunt here for a minute: My kids are smart. Like each and every person on the planet, all three have areas that are struggles for them but, for the most part, school is not one of those areas. To use the popular educational term, they are “gifted”.
Most of the time I am deeply grateful for that. They are so, so fortunate that they have the brains that they do. It opens up amazing possibilities for their futures and not a single one of us takes that fact for granted.
Then there are Parent Teacher Conference nights where I look at the parents of the “normal” kids and would trade places with them on the spot. Because, the thing about “gifted” kids is that they all seem to come with “gifted” parents. Parents who themselves are intelligent and love nothing better than to discuss their own intelligence and accomplishments and then go on about those of their kids.
“Well I see that Jack only got a 93% on this AP Calculus test. We’re a little disappointed. You know, I have an engineering degree from MIT and my wife serves on the School Board so we have really high expectations for Jack. I’m sure you’ve seen his standardized tests. He scored in the 99th percentile and we just really feel that this grade does not reflect his true ability. Is it possible that he is bored in your class?”
I can hear this entire conversation because all the teachers are crammed into the cafeteria at card tables and the parents are sitting in folding chairs across from them and there is absolutely no privacy. I try not to eavesdrop, but when the parent ahead of me is 12 minutes into what is supposed to be a 4-5 minute conversation I feel like I have a right to know just what is so darned important.
Nothing, as it usually turns out. Just parents wanting to have in depth conversations to reassure them about the true brilliance of their children.
Not me. I get in, I hear the good and the bad and make sure that whatever their grade might be that my kids are respectful of adults and other students and then I get out of there.
Because you know what? There are a lot of “gifted” kids out there. And not a single one of them is more important than the others. Each of them has a role to play in this life, but everyone’s role is important darn it. There isn’t a single thing about my children that entitles me to more time or attention than other parents or other children. My kid may end up being a lawyer some day, but show me a lawyer who can have an enjoyable life without a garbage man or custodian or mechanic or grocery clerk or … well you get the idea. The point is that a lawyer can not have an enjoyable life without all of those people. So they are important and so are their kids.
Plus they are all smart enough to figure out how to get out of conferences a heck of a lot faster than I do.