I just watched the movie Gifted and was so blessed at the theme and the vision of the movie. What we do to our children (and grandchildren) to help us live out our own dreams (and unfulfilled destiny)! I have been blessed to raise three gifted children…when I say gifted, I mean gifted. They are deep thinkers, readers, love math, science, politics, music and art…but when our daughter Brittany Kiara Boone was small, I PUSHED. And I mean pushed.
I saw the talent and I just figured, because she was gifted, I had the responsibility to nurture that gift (just like the grandmother in the movie). So I pushed some more. As an elementary student, not only did she have her homework, but I made her do worksheets…every night except Friday. (You know those workbooks you get at Walmart or the nearest Teacher’s store.) It paid off because she was a serious student…and I mean serious student. She took the SAT at 12 and did well.
Then at 12 she was diagnosed with Stage IV cancer. But she didn’t allow cancer to slow her down. She took a full load of classes, even while she was homebound and taking chemo. She even enrolled in advanced classes, (i.e., physics, pre-calculus, chemistry…at 15 and 16!) She just wouldn’t let up even when I wanted her to take it easy. I had pushed so much during elementary school and middle school…she didn’t even know any other way. But then I realized that she had put so much pressure on herself to do well, school and grades were everything. We had a talk one day while we were in NY for her cancer treatment. She shared that she didn’t know any other way to be. She talked about the pressure of having to make A’s because she knew that was what I expected of her and she didn’t want to let me down. God forbid, she said, that she would make a C.
After that conversation, I realized what I had done and I promised her and myself that I wouldn’t do that do her brothers. Now to be fair, just let me say, that I did what ALL PARENTS SHOULD DO. I hardly ever missed a parent/teacher conference. I never missed a school open house. (Boy am I glad my sons’ high school years are over!) I was always there asking questions, checking on their grades, making sure they did what was expected of them. BUT I refused to place the pressure of “perfection” on my boys, simply because I knew they were gifted students. (Bryson, just might have something to say about this!!! LOL) He “joked” with me one time that he still feels pressure to do well. And that is okay when I know that I am NOT standing over him constantly checking on homework, asking him did he do his homework, or asking him to let me see his homework. (And yes, that was difficult for me to let that go…but I just refused to do it!)
Instead, I esteemed them, told them how proud I was of them, (even for the occasional C) and just wanted them to do their best. And if their best was a B or C, I was proud of their work. But more than anything, I told them how much I loved them, what they mean to me and I purposed it in my heart and spirit, to allow Bryce and Brian to have BALANCE. It was tough there for awhile because I do want my young men to excel and be the best they can be.
School is critically important, but I would rather see my sons’ smile over a delicious dinner…or hear them laugh over something funny…than be too stressed about school OR what their brilliance MAKES ME LOOK LIKE because I am their mother.
This movie dives deep in the muck of brilliance when we don’t allow our kids to have balance. We see how the pressure of giftedness can destroy the lives of our children when we don’t allow them to have a life. And the film shows the opposite as well. What does an uncle do when he knows the outcome of that pressure and he wants a better life (if not perfect life) for his niece? And the uncle is a wonderful “Dad”, trying to deal with not being the “favorite” brilliant child to his mother who is living a disappointing unfulfilled life.
We all have heard the horror stories of the sports Dads and the stage mothers. It is the same for those parents who place so much pressure on sports, scouts, dance and anything else – we “force them to do”. Because when you really think about it, all our kids really want are friends, love from their families, and some time at the proverbial playground.
So parents, everywhere, go get your son or daughter and take them to get some ice cream. Go to the zoo, go watch a cartoon, go to the mall or sit down and play some cards. Laugh and hug your son or daughter so all they see is that they matter…their smile, their laughter…not their gift or talent. The time invested will be so worth it.
And go see Gifted…you won’t regret it.
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