Humility of Spirit AND Giftedness

I have been attempting to help our students to understand the unique challenges of being gifted. In addition to reading the “Gifted Survival Guide for Kids” we have been working to walk a fine line of being incredibly proud of who we are as a gifted community AND how to operate with humility of spirit, which I define as having a modest view of one’s importance, and in our gifted children’s case, a modest view of one’s intelligence and  abilities. As a teacher and parent, I want to help our students be incredibly proud of who they are and at the same time be able to have humility in their giftings. I take comfort in this quote that I read from the from the SENG website: (SENG is Supporting Emotional Needs for the Gifted) in their article about the Do’s and Dont’s of parenting a gifted child. It read,

“Don’t worry that helping your gifted child know himself (or herself) better will lead to a “big head,” a know-it-all attitude, or undo vanity. True giftedness that is understood by the possessor leads to a more open understanding and acceptance of others (if it has been explained well). The more intellectually gifted a person is, the more likely the person will know how much he doesn’t know yet. That alone should lead to a sense of humility! Don’t worry that the child will feel superior to you; children need to look up to their parents and you are better equipped than you may realize. You are the right parents for your children.”

One of the ways I am finding that our kiddos sometimes get a bad rap with their peers, teachers, and siblings is because it is REALLY hard to walk the fine line between being proud of being gifted and having high intellect without crossing the line into bragging or becoming known as a “know it all.”

In order to bring this issue to light, this week we are playing a game called “Hot Seat” to help build empathy for friends, peers, and siblings who might struggle when they are not included in the GT (Gifted and Talented) programming. It also builds empathy for our teachers who may feel challenged when students question their instruction publically and regularly (which sometimes some gifted students happen to do.) To play Hot Seat, each student received a card of a person who has not (yet) been identified as gifted and answers questions from their assigned perspective about what it is like to not get to participate in GT. They also have to consider what it is like to really struggle to master material that they find comes easily. For many who have participated in this activity, they have agreed that this has been eye opening. Their consideration and management of their gifted identification with true humility will help them for years to come.

To play Hot Seat, each student received a card with a description of a person who has not been identified as gifted and is on the “Hot Seat” to answers questions from their assigned perspective. They are asked about what it is like to not get to participate in GT. They also have to consider what it is like to really struggle to master the material at grade level, a concept that is foreign to most.

For many who have participated in this activity, they have agreed that it has been eye-opening experience. Their consideration and management of their gifted identification with true humility will help them for years to come.

For more on this topic, I found a great article from “All Pro Dad” about teaching your children about humility of spirit.

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