I have been bubbling with excitement ever since I became a Wisconsin Association for Talented and Gifted board member. The reason is simple; my oldest son is a brilliant learner. He isn’t just a voracious academic, he absolutely loves the process of learning. He relishes school routine and he soaks in the minute details of preparing for exams.
Now, I know many of you are reading this and likely telling yourself, “We’ve heard the same thing over and over before. There are plenty of highly gifted learners in this state.” That’s true. However, Carson is in the fifth grade. He is in the 99th percentile in standardized testing and routinely talks about where he wants to go to college. (That would be Purdue University, because, as he states it, “It’s one of the best engineering schools around.”) Now this is where the story becomes a story about patience, because my 11-year-old desperately wants to be 18 tomorrow. He wants to graduate from high school, and be off to start his collegiate career -- now. That all sounds awesome at a cocktail party, when everyone is bragging about their kids. We all like to imagine their bright futures.
However, we can’t forget to live in the moment. Even though my son may be 11, he isn’t too old to build forts, play tag, or roast marshmallows. He’s still a kid. I think so many of us want our kids to grow up so fast, but in reality, the opposite should be true; we should be preserving the joy of their childhoods. Our kids are innocent and experience that childlike enthusiasm only once in their life. So, while it’s OK to imagine the future, we also need to be consistently focused on today.
How many regrets would parents have if they allowed their children to jump too soon into adulthood? There could be so many lost opportunities for growth - for both the parent and the child. For example, the parent might want to teach the child about his or her experiences and try to use them as an example for learning, and the child might want to ask questions, so as not to make the same silly mistakes that his or her parent made. Childhood gives children many chances to make mistakes, learn, and grow in a safe and supportive environment.
I know that Carson is going to succeed at whatever he does because he dives in with both feet and gives every ounce of effort. He often gets frustrated when he can sense a “talk” coming on as I try to pull back on the lure of the future, and ground him in the present, but he has accepted it more and more. He also knows that when he goes to college, he won’t be seeing his two younger brothers nearly as much, and that these childhood years with his siblings are very precious.
Though it’s human nature to surmise that things are greener on the other side (or in the future), you will be missing so many wonderful things that are right in front of you if you don’t also live in the moment. Seize those moments.
WATG Board Member