What’s a Gift?

This week I had thirty students come through my classroom in what was a whirlwind introduction to the gifted program and our plans for the year. There are many things that I try to accomplish in two days as I introduce them to what we mean by giftedness, Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences, identifying learning styles, the Virtues Project and the Destination ImagiNation challenges. Am I just a little exhausted right now? Not at all…it’s been an amazing week!

One of the most important discussions I had with the students this week was around the question “What is a gift”? The real worry when we invite students into a gifted program is how they will bear the label they’ve just been given. For some students it is like a medal of honor and a real source of pride, while others see it as a free pass to the easy road and still others experience it as a burden or responsibility: “What will be expected of me now?”

Part of our discussions played with the idea of whether the gift is something they have or whether it’s learning about what they have to give? Everyone likes to receive presents but does the greater joy and fulfillment come from giving? And so we began the process of uncovering and discovering what it is we have to offer and how we will develop the courage and confidence to share it when the time, place and need arrive.

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