“Science reveals that all life on earth is one.” – Cosmos

Notice that the quote above doesn’t say, “Science reveals that all life on earth is the same.”

As a person who has dedicated the last seven years of my life’s work to educating gifted children and supporting gifted families, it can be easy to forget that there are still people out there who are unclear about the reality of giftedness, and that there are many people who deny it outright. They account for multiple intelligences but don’t acknowledge a qualitative diversity of intensities — a true divergence from the norm.

A couple of weeks ago some misguided articles on gifted children were brought to my attention. These articles (and the comments) were a jarring reminder that I live in a fortunate bubble of understanding and celebration of the gifted child.

Some of these people seemed to think that for a child to be gifted, they must’ve had some special aspect of their childhood stolen from them. That they were forced to stay up late to drill math facts.  That they were perpetually on the verge of breaking under their parent’s pressure to achieve. Others thought the parents of gifted children were asserting that their child deserved something better than other children.

These things are simply not true.

And I would like to join with the choir of other gifted advocates and declare that giftedness is real.

My friends and I have so much work to do before our job is complete.

When I began writing this article I realized more evidence of my bubble. I’ve actually never come out and said on this blog exactly what I mean when I say that a child is gifted. Everyone who comes to my site usually has a great grasp on the concept by the time they arrive here. I’m lucky, in a way. (Thank you.)

So I’m going to spell it out now, in honor of those kids and their families that know on a very deep level that their child is different from the norm in critical ways.

In my work with significantly gifted children, I’ve come to understand giftedness as an inherent cognitive difference. This difference is characterized by asynchronous development. A child’s abilities may present themselves as out of synch with age-mates. They may be the chronological age of seven with the reading abilities of a high-schooler, and the social-emotional range of a pre-schooler. This difference is often coupled with inborn intensities and sensitivities that complicate life to such an extent that age-typical expectations become an absurd suggestion.

This difference is a small range of data points on the cognitive bell curve that deserve as much recognition and respect as the rest of the curve.

The world has many different types of beautiful minds, creating a symphonic reality that is critical to its own self-preservation.

We may all be one, but all life on earth isn’t the same.

If all life were the same there would be no curve and no symphony. And that would be… well… awful.