If You Think Your Kid is Gifted. Think Again.


This blog post came to me as I stood in the National Archives in Washington, D.C. (I felt a little bit like Nicolas Cage in the movie National Treasure).

It was an epiphany.

It was almost like someone was screaming it in my year.

“Write this blog, write this blog, write this blog… and stop calling them blogs…”

Oh wait. Someone was.The Rotunda at the National Archives.

No, it wasn’t Thomas Jefferson or Benjamin Franklin (the voices in my head have stopped… for the most part).

The idea came to me from my mother-in-law. She came up with this observation as my Evil Spawn (her Evil GrandSpawn) was getting reading to look at the great American Historical Documents.

Included were the Constitution, Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights, and the Louisiana Purchase.

And I almost forgot. Elvis’s Letter to President Nixon (the one where Elvis wanted to lead the war on drugs… although we didn’t actually see this letter, I would have liked to…).

Actually we didn’t really “see” any of the documents clearly. Walking into the National Archives is live walking into a cave. It’s 42 degrees and dark. Really dark.

It’s like being locked in the trunk of a car (this is a whole different blog).

When we walked into the archives, I felt like a spelunker (Google it if you don’t know).

The good people at the government keep the National Archives like this to preserve “the original documents.” (Yeah, like the ones they let you see are the “originals”.)

They couldn’t fool Nicolas Cage and they can’t fool me (Copies I say! … and yes, I do expect to be audited at any moment).

During my time as a school administrator (6 years… or 42 years in getting treated like a dog years…), I have learned many things.

One of those things is that the majority of parents who are proud owners of a smart student believe their child is gifted.

To parents… Straight A’s = Gifted.

No it doesn’t.

Have you seen the Honor Roll lately? Every kid in school is on it.

C’s used to mean average. Now they mean possible IEP (but this is a rant for another blog…).

Truly gifted isn’t being in the top 20% of the class. It’s more like 1/20th of the top 1% of the class.

I have met a ton of really smart, bright, successful students and I can count on one hand the number of students who have really been truly gifted.

In my opinion public schools need to spend more time and money on the top 20% of students (or “gifted students” as mom and dad call them).

Realistically, this probably isn’t going to happen.

But the good news is gifted education is everywhere.

And this is what my mother-in-law was pointing out. The best gifted education comes from parents.

Through travel, the library, extra work on the internet, camps, and other experiences that families can provide.

Gifted education in schools is needed, but if it’s not, it can still be provided by those proud parents.

And if you think those parents are a little delusional on their child’s abilities… you should meet Grandma.

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Travel Stinks. Now Quit Complaining.


When I was a kid, I never traveled.

If I couldn’t get there on my bike, I didn’t go.

I didn’t have the chance to ride a train, fly, or even take a cab.

Vacations were what other people took.

As I have gotten older, I’ve had more opportunities to get out and see the world.

Or at least some other states.

What I have learned is travel absolutely stinks. The lines. The security. The delays. Airport food.

A Baby That Doesn’t Want to Fly.

A Baby That Doesn’t Want to Fly.

But mostly the bathrooms (but that is a whole different blog that I’m not prepared to write and you’re definitely not ready to read).

When you get right down to it, travel is a hassle.

No matter what you do, it’s just hard to get from one place to another. It’s almost unnatural.

Everyone is in a hurry. Everyone seems to be put out by the experience.

Frustration runs rampant.

Lots of people trying to get someplace on time, and invariably they are running late.

Of course, it is usually their own fault they are behind schedule but in today’s society people really struggle with taking personal responsibility.

So if I’m late, it must be the baggage handlers fault, or the airlines, or at least the person standing in line in front of me.

Or behind me.

Or 27 feet away from me. Especially if they have a crying baby (and let’s all take a moment to say a special silent prayer for those mom’s who travel with babies… and if you travel with 2 or more you should have your choice of flying free… or being named a Saint).

Of course, this is just an example. I hope that I’m not one of those impatient travelers.

I consider myself lucky because I had never flown before September 11, 2001. This makes me lucky because I don’t know any better.

I never had the opportunity to run straight to the gate 7 seconds before takeoff. I have never even walked through an airport before we were under a “Code Light Blue/Orange/Mauve/Purple/Slightly Gray”.

I didn’t even know that I was responsible for turning someone in to security that left their baggage unattended.

I had no idea you were supposed to sit in the airport and complain loudly because the airport mechanics found something wrong with your plane and the flight had to be delayed 45 minutes.

I assumed that we all wanted our planes to be in 100% perfect mechanical condition before we boarded and had them hurl us through the air at 400 miles an hour at 37,000 feet above the rest of the world.

So my idea of travel (especially by plane) is that it’s annoying, but necessary.

I am amazed by the whole experience.

How is it possible that I can be looking at the Declaration of Independence in Washington, D.C. at 4:30 p.m., then drive to the airport, get on a giant metal tube, fly through the air, and be in my own bed fast asleep by midnight?

It’s not right. It is unnatural. It’s truly amazing when you think about it.

And yes, it is somewhat of a hassle.

But get over it.

Because when you get right down to it… it’s pretty cool.

And from my own experience, it certainly beats riding a bike.

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While this site operates with the knowledge and awareness of the Tuscola CUSD #301 School Board, Tuscola, Illinois, the content and opinions posted here may or may not represent their views personally or collectively, nor does it attempt to represent the official viewpoint of Tuscola CUSD #301 administrators or employees.