Many a proud parent or grandparent has boasted that their child or grandchild is “gifted.” Beaming over the results of a standardized IQ test, they brag to anyone who’ll listen that their offspring scored in the upper percentile, well beyond the average. It’s important that parents and grandparents praise and take pride in their children and grandchildren, but I have always been uneasy with the category of “gifted.”
First, it puts undo pressure on the child to achieve academically, creating unreasonable expectations. I also have strong reservations about the ability of standardized tests to measure aptitude. There are different kinds intelligence and different ways to measure it. Standardized tests measure particular kinds of intelligence and reflect their socio-cultural location. They cannot define a person’s acuity or potential.
More seriously, however, labeling someone as “gifted” insinuates that some have gifts while others do not. It gives the impression that some are special, chosen, or destined for greatness, while others are not. Giftedness, in this sense, becomes a status symbol that stratifies people on the basis of their raw intellect. But we”re all gifted. We all have skills, abilities, and knowledge that enables us to contribute to the world.
Do you know that you’re gifted? God has given you unique gifts and abilities. Some you already use, some you have not yet accessed, and some you have yet to actualize fully. Take time to reflect on the gifts you’ve been given and on how you can employ them to help others. And, by all means, praise your children and grandchildren for being “gifted”. Brag about it until you’re blue in the face to your neighbors, to strangers, to anyone who’ll listen. They’re all specially gifted, and we should celebrate their gifts. We all have something to give, so we’re all gifted. Give the gifts that only you possess to brighten the world today.