They say, If wishes were horses beggars would ride. I am not really in to wishes. If I want something I work to get it. If I can’t get what I want, then I move on..
That being said,this post is a wish.. this is something I wanted to tell someone and didn’t, because I knew I wouldn’t have been able to get my message across.
An ex classmate of my son is under psychiatrist care. The journey from a happy child to someone who doesn’t want to live didn’t happen overnight. It was progressive and much as I hate to say this, his mother is the main culprit.
His mother came to me and introduced herself 3 days after I registered my children in the school here. She had already heard about my son being placed in advanced maths program. ( clearly news travelled faster than the speed of light). She told me her son is ‘gifted’. For me finding another gifted child is something I consider a blessing. At least my son would have a friend who is like him, I thought. ( Yaya finds it much easier to talk to me as both of us are very similar, whereas my son finds it very hard to accept that I really don’t find maths exciting!) I invited them over for tea.
The entire conversation when the mother came over for tea revolved around how smart her son is. He knew all the capitals of all the countries before he was 2, knew to count up to whatever number before he was 3 etc etc. She wanted to know my son’s achievements age for age.
I didn’t teach my son to count or the capitals etc when he was 2. I was expecting his sister then and we were busy building twin towers with lego building blocks. My main job around that time was to collect my shoes, his shoes, his drinking bottle etc from the neighbour’s house each evening when they returned from work. My son loved tossing stuff over the fence. We also had two chooks, Henny Penny and Cocky Locky and he and yaya chased them around the house. We baked cookies, read a million stories and when it rained, they played in the rain. But I didn’t teach them to count or the alphabets or anything like that.
Digressing a bit here, Perhaps the one thing that I think I did differently was to ask Yaya when she was about a year and half “What do you see?” I was printing colouring sheets for her and one had a red apple and I asked her “What do you see?” She replied “apple” and I told her “No, it is a picture of a red apple with a single green leaf”. I was reading an architectural book about Oscar Neimeyer ( famous Brazillian Architect) at that time and he had said, don’t do what I do, see what I see” and I felt, I should show my children what I see..because when I saw the picture of the apple, I saw a red apple with a single green leaf, both halves of the apple was symmetrical, something you will never find in real apples, I also noticed that the red colour was full, where as you will never find a pure red apples in real life.. I know I sound silly, but this is how my brain works.. Yaya and I used to play “what do you see” after that. Something I didn’t do with her brother and sister because both weren’t interested.
Then she wanted to know what books I am using to teach my children. I told her, I don’t teach my children anything and the only thing I ever did was to send them for a few months to Kumon. I explained to her that my kids were attending an inner city school in Canada and were going to skip almost a year when they moved here and I was concerned that they might find the transition difficult. Apart from the extension program the school provided, kumon was the only other program my children did.
The next week her son started going to Kumon.
Every exam, she would ask my son about his marks. ( something that really bothered my son) She became this shadow that followed my son all the time. But that wasn’t the main issue..What she was trying to do was to create her son to be like my son. Everything my son did, so did her son. She pushed and pushed her son. She was relentless. But her son was struggling at school. He begged my son “please don’t tell my mom that you got A when she asks”. The mother even went to the school district to complain about the teacher who gave the students a surprise test without prior notice. ( the very same test my son got his first B)
I understood she didn’t believe me when I told her that I don’t teach my children at home, when another friend wanted my son to join the indoor soccer team and she told her that She is positive that I will not let my son join the team because I am forever teaching him at home and won’t allow my son any free time.
There is a big difference between gifted and non gifted children. Gifted children don’t need to be taught, they pick up things on their own. ( Yaya taught herself to read and write, whereas her sister learned to read and write at school)
Every parent want their child to be the winner, but to create an ordinary child in to a ‘gifted’ child is the biggest disservice you can do to that child.
I wish I could tell the mother, “your son is not gifted, he is smart, but not gifted”