Don’t Forget To Slow Down
High levels of stress are often cited as concerning in the world of gifted education. Kids constantly strive for higher achievement – better test scores, advanced placement classes, honors classes, retreats, scholarships, and public recognition, to name a few. All of these are amazing and should be goals for any student, but the stress can be problematic, too.
Giftedness has lofty rewards, but it also has deep pitfalls. Kids expend so much time, energy, and emotion taking the high achievement route; this means there is often less time spent with friends, family, or simply being a kid, and this can take a toll on mental health.
As we approach the holidays, let’s remember how important time is. This is the time that some of my fondest memories as a kid were spent tree shopping with friends and family, eating peanut butter balls, and sleeping in late. I’m sure you have many holiday memories, too.
Kids have enough to worry about with school, extracurricular activities, and responsibilities at home, community, or church. As adults, we look forward to vacations as we anticipate a chance to give ourselves a much needed mind break; so do children and adolescents.
Time is a funny thing; when we’re young, we think we have an ample amount, and then as we get older, we try to squeeze as much time out of the hourglass as possible. But just because younger folks may not put time into perspective doesn’t mean they don’t need plenty of it, especially unscheduled time.
A perfect gift for gifted children would be the gift of time. Don’t let them think about schedules, preparations, or practices. For a couple days during this busy holiday season, encourage them to connect with friends, dive into a good book, or do whatever they are needing at that particular moment. Teach them how to savor unstructured time, and the benefits that it brings to life. And while you’re at it, take some time for yourself too! This pause will help to refresh, refocus, and reimagine the importance of a balanced life. Don’t forget to slow down; this is the gift that will keep on giving.
WATG Board Member
Student and Parent Voices
Hear from and about gifted and talented students and parents across the state Wisconsin.