This blog has already been a huge personal undertaking. And I haven’t even launched it.
I’ve plowed along for months: researching best practices, learning how to use various software programs, scouring stock-photography sites for images that perfectly illustrate my written sentiments, asking friends for feedback so many times that they’re probably ready to kill me…and much more.
The fire in my belly has been so strong that I’ve never experienced anything quite like it.
That’s saying something because I’m the type of person who becomes captivated by concepts and activities for short periods of time, but then, all of a sudden, the flame reduces to an ember and extinguishes. I get my fill and then move on to the next shiny object that grabs my attention.
This is why I can never watch a popular TV series for more than a season or two. (I wonder if it explains why I hate cooking, too.)
Lately, however, I’ve been feeling deflated. Wondering if this mammoth effort is worth it…
Sacrificing hours that I could be charging clients for my time; trying to keep the kids quiet while I research and write; and this morning, burning bacon because I needed to capture a story idea before I forgot it.
I’ve also started to wonder if this effort will help any parents, educators or pediatric clinicians. If there’s even a need for this information.
(Maybe I’m the only mom who was clueless about my child’s giftedness and the social-emotional challenges it can create?)
But then, God quietly, but consistently, puts moments in my life when I realize there is a need. That I’m not the only one who has struggled to figure out why the hell my kid (who is smart in the academic sense) struggles so much to connect with his peers, even with what feels like a lot of coaching from his dad and me.
These “God moments” as I call them, seem to happen so randomly, too. For example, yesterday, I was finishing up a meeting with our school’s psychologist, gifted educator and a few others, when a school volunteer overheard what I’ve been learning from Michelle Garcia Winner, founder of Social Thinking®.
The volunteer ran over to us, apologizing for butting in on our conversation, and began explaining her 14-year-old’s ongoing social struggles. (And now the academic “laziness” he’s developing, as well.) Long after everyone else departed, and I’d written down a few books and websites to consider reading, this mom gave me her email address in case I thought of anything else.
What were the chances that the exact type of mom I want to help would overhear that conversation with the gifted educator? Her son that’s struggling doesn’t even attend that school; it’s his younger sibling.
Ten minutes later, as I sat in my gym’s parking lot, I realized I needed to take a deep breath and compose myself before going inside. There was a pit in my stomach and I could feel tears welling up in my eyes.
This mother’s pain…this boy’s pain…and the ongoing misconceptions and fallacies they keep bumping up against, were “my why.” Why I, and many others, cannot be silent.
It’s for other families I’ve heard about, too. My BFF’s friend whose 10-year-old gifted child has started to engage in self-harm. And kids like 15-year-old Connor Tronerud (RIP), who feel so misunderstood and ostracized that suicide seems like the only escape.
It doesn’t sound like much of a “gift,” does it?
There are so many families who are struggling with this. The roads they travel may never be as easy as others assume; however, they also don’t need to be this difficult to navigate.
It’s time to see giftedness in its entirety. It’s much more than academics and “potential.” It’s about social acceptance and personal meaning, too.
Keeping that in the forefront of my mind makes tackling the myths and misdiagnoses worth it.
As I realize, over and over again, it’s my why.