Dear Friends who are Parents and Teachers,
Yesterday news broke about a student in North Dallas who was put in handcuffs for wanting to show his teacher a digital clock he made. There are a lot of layers to this story that make it particularly outrageous, but what I’d like to discuss about this story is what this kind of event can do to a gifted child.
Being gifted in sciences and technology as a child can be very lonely. You care a lot about things other people don’t understand, and struggle to relate to others who don’t see the world the same way. I was much better at programming a Commodore 64 than I ever was at gym class or talking to kids in the lunch room.
What helped me growing up was my parents and teachers taking the time to listen and take interest in what I was excited about. They didn’t always understand what I was talking about, but they supported me by listening to me talk about computing light refraction, or making costumes for videos, or letting me into the AV room over lunch to write BASIC or edit videos. Children who are self motivated can go far in the world as long as they aren’t taught that their motivation is wrong. I can only imagine what would have happened to me if I had been put in handcuffs for programming.
So Parents and Teachers - listen to your kids. Encourage them to be passionate, even when you don’t know what they are passionate about.