Positive Wellbeing

 

Melinda Gindy

President , Australian Association for the Education of the Gifted and Talented
Australia

 

 

Charles Swindoll once said,

“We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations."

One would likely agree that the events of late have presented a series of seemingly ‘impossible situations’ for our global communities. When Australia and New Zealand first collaborated over a joint Gifted Awareness Week theme for 2020, little did we know how important the theme of wellbeing would become.

 

Positive wellbeing is fundamental to the overall health of an individual. Arguably, it strongly correlates with every theme in the history of Gifted Awareness Week New Zealand thus far: Belonging, Diversity, Celebrate Gifted, to name a few. Sometimes our international community overlooks the important place that wellbeing has in the lives of gifted people. Myths and misconceptions can abound: ‘Your child is gifted? He’s going to be fine, then!’, or, ‘Gosh, you’re teaching the extension class? That is going to be a breeze!’, or ‘You’re smart, go figure it out yourself!’ Assuming that the gifted individual will be ‘fine on their own’ fails to recognise that providing support, guidance, friendship, mental stimulation and life skills are just as important for gifted individuals as they are for their neurotypical peers. In short, gifted people young and old have wellbeing needs, too.

 

Throughout my years of teaching and parenting gifted little people, it has become evident that the essence of ‘being well’ has the individual at the core. As a group, gifted individuals generally find value in intellectual stimulation with cognitive peers in a place where they are free to be themselves and express that freedom with others who just ‘get them’. To even begin the journey to that place of acceptance, a gifted individual must first understand and recognise who they are. Just last week I was asked: ‘But do I tell my child they are gifted?’ My response was that gifted individuals are often acutely aware that they are different from their neurotypical peers. This difference doesn’t make them more – or less – special or important. But when they don’t understand who they are and how they think, they cannot begin to value themselves and foster positive wellbeing. In particular, our young ones who look to their environmental influences (parents, caregivers, teachers, schools, peers) need understanding and nurturing, even more so in these unprecedented times.

 

The words of Swindoll are inspirational.

Are we listening to the ideas of our gifted community as they respond to the insurmountable global challenges? Do we value their ideas and provide a platform to express them? Are we engaging healthy, happy students in relevant curriculum after a period of remote learning in which they thrived in their own interests? Do we take time to listen to their individual needs and foster a sense of understanding and acceptance?

 

Go well, Aotearoa New Zealand, as you focus on the wellbeing of your gifted people in 2020. Identify them, nurture them, value them and most importantly, celebrate their individual needs. And as we face seemingly impossible situations in the future, may we hold strong in our mind, body and spirit such that we see these situations as great opportunities.

 

About Melinda Gindy

BArts(Mus), GradDipEd, GradCertGiftEd, MEd (SpEd), MMTA, HFTGN

President AAEGT

 

 

 

Posted as part of the 2020 New Zealand Gifted Awareness Blog Tour, run by the New Zealand Centre for Gifted Education.

The views and opinions expressed in the Gifted Awareness Week Blog Tour are solely those of the original authors and other contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of NZCGE, their staff, and/or any/all contributors to Gifted Awareness Week.

 

Positive Wellbeing

 
 
 
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