Last week, I ran two parenting workshops. At each one, I told the parents that I had found an amazing formula for raising gifted children and that my goal for the day was to share this formula, or at least the main parts of it, with them.
Every time I run a workshop, I get puzzled looks and parents ask, “How can you share such a thing with us? Aren’t kids either gifted or not?”
Kids are gifted. Period. We just have to help them discover their particular gifts.
Imagine that the brain has switches. Kids are born with all the switches turned on. As they experience life, they learn to specialize, to switch some off and keep some on. It is impossible to have all these switches on all the time, so the mechanism of turning some of them off is very healthy and helps people survive. Can you imagine an expert who specializes in biology, art, history, electricity and music? I did not think so. The idea of specializing is that we narrow down our range interests to allow us to delve more deeply into the things we choose.
The first thing God said in the book of Genesis was, “Let there be light”. Parenting and teaching are kind of like being God, because our job is to do just that – turn on the switches and say, “Let there be light”.
So, when I talk about sharing, I mean that I will share with you how to turn on the switches and how to find that gift, the light that will allow your kids to live a life of fulfillment, that will bring a spark of excitement into their eyes and make your parenting task easy and enjoyable.
To demonstrate, I would like to share with you one of my daughter Noff’s talent stories.
Noff is our youngest child and is 11 years old. People often tell us that it is not easy to be born into our family, because the “competition” is tough. 23-year-old Eden is and amazing young woman 1and 16-year-old Tsoof is an amazing young man. This seems to others a tough competition. We, on the other hand, see them as sources of inspiration.
Gal and I have a belief that kids need to be introduced to as many activities as possible until they find the things they are most passionate about. So since Noff was young, we have encouraged her to try different things. It was obvious that she loved dancing when she won prizes for dancing and was so happy whenever she danced. We knew this was one of her talents. Then, last year, she started singing, playing the flute, ice skating and playing basketball and it seems like more of her “switches” were being turned on.
It always amazes me that whenever we think a child has turned on all the switches they can, we discover there are still more to turn on.
Two weeks ago, one of Noff’s teachers gave the students an assignment to do “Claymation” – a clay animation video clip. They had to make it 1 minute long (without the credits), which meant taking 600 to 800 photos in a sequence. When Noff told us about it, we were all very excited for her, but we never imagined just how excited she was.
One morning, she got up really early to finish her storyboard, so that her teacher, Mr. Martin, would give her the clay to start shooting. The following week was amazing to watch. I sat with her on YouTube to learn how to make a clay astronaut, because she wanted to make the landing on the moon scene (Neil Armstrong had just died). Everyone in the family helped her find props, move the clay figures, find music and edit her video clip. I think the most wonderful thing was that she did not want to go to sleep and woke up early in the morning to sculpt her clay creatures and to edit the photos and the film. She had this spark in her eyes – a spark of excitement. She walked around the house with a proud and happy smile and said several times, “I’m gooood”. The whole project required a lot of patience, but Noff was creative and adventurous and although things were not perfect, she kept working on her project.
I told Gal that I wanted to write Mr. Martin a “Thank you” letter for turning on the lights in Noff’s brain and helping her discover something she did not know she had.
Will this light stay on?
Not sure, but forever, she will know she had it on one day.
I present to you “The First Man on The Moon” by 11-year-old Noff Baras.
Ronit (a.k.a. Proud Lady)
This post is part of the series How to Raise Gifted Children:
- How to Raise Gifted Children: Let there be light
- How to Raise Gifted Children: Find the switch
- How to Raise Gifted Children: Switch-Finding Rules
- How to Raise Gifted Children: With Art