Sunday, February 28, 2010

Super Sunday Series - Be your child's advocate

Welcome back to the Super Sunday Series - where I speak to all topics gifted and how they relate to your child's well-being.  Please click on the tab above if you want to discover more about the Series and its topics.

It doesn't matter that I spent 6 years as a trial attorney.  I always get major jitters when standing up to speak.  I used to throw up behind the courtroom on the first day of trial, truthfully.

Personal phobias aside, yesterday I spoke to the Ohio Association of Gifted Children Parent Division meeting about using social media to help you with your gifted child.  Which is funny because I (literally) didn't know what social media was until about 6 months ago.  And now I'm speaking about how important it is.  And it went great!  I'm not sure how many people will be joining Twitter today as a result of my talk, but there were many good questions about the hows and whys of social media.  And my hope is that hearing about my experience will help move these parents a step closer to discovering the joys in social media.

I attended the first half of the meeting as well, which was nice, as I''m a member of OAGC.

While there:

I heard frustration . . .over schools not meeting the needs of gifted children.

I heard bewilderment . . . over how best to help gifted children reach their potential.

I heard anger . . . over state testing and its lack of "real measurement."

I heard hope . . . that some kids are doing very well and that can happen for all kids someday.

I heard pride . . . from parents who have newly discovered "giftedness" in their child.

And I was thrilled to share my story of how much blogging and Twitter have helped raise my awareness of the issues we all face as parents of gifted children.  The energy in the room was palpable and the attendees were engaged and truly committed to finding answers.

With a 2nd grader, I'm on the front edge of the "gifted push."  It was wonderful to hear people with older kids talk about their experiences over the years.  One of my favorite quotes came from a parent of high school aged gifted children.  She spoke about striking a balance (and I am paraphrasing):

"My gifted kids are in band, play a sport, on student counsel and in AP classes.  They have 4 hours of homework a night.  One of the biggest challenges is knowing they can handle the work, but also knowing they can't, because I just can't push them to the brink of exhaustion just because they can.  And finding the balance of picking which AP classes they should do, instead of all of them, is very hard sometimes."

I was amazed how many people rely on their teachers to educate them on the issues because, as parents, they don't have a knowledge yet of where to find resources.  What a disservice you might do to your child if you do this!  My greatest source of happiness over discovering social media is this:  Arm yourself with as much knowledge and understanding as you can.  

Oldest's very first teacher said this to me over and over.  "You must learn how to be the advocate for your child.  This is one of your most important duties as a parent."

I had no idea what she meant 6 years ago.  Yesterday, I witnessed how important those words were as I saw several people floundering with their difficulties in the school system.

So here is my message to you - BE YOUR CHILD'S ADVOCATE.  They are counting on you (and so is the future of our country).

Next week on the Super Sunday Series, I'll talk about what I think it means to be your child's advocate.  

Tomorrow, March's Happiness Plan - It's all about the kids, man!
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