Guest post by Dr. Hanna David
Dr. Hanna David is an Israel-born expert of high ability, giftedness and creativity. She received her PhD “magna cum laude” in educational psychology from Ludwig Maximilians Universität, München and worked at the Tel Aviv University between 1976 and 2004. Dr. David has published six books and over 70 articles in psychology of giftedness, didactics in special education with an emphasis on mathematics for gifted students, gender-related issues of giftedness, educational policy and administration, and sociology of high ability. Currently she is a counselor of gifted children and their families.
During the last 50 years I have met many hundreds – maybe thousands – of parents of gifted children. During my childhood they were mostly parents of friends, family members or neighbors; people who had no idea the word “gifted” existed, and certainly did not consider themselves special or admirable because they “produced” an intelligent, curious, talented daughter or son. These parents were mostly concerned because their child asked for music, gym, or science lessons they could not afford; because the daughter had already read all books in the local library “suitable for her age” and asked for more, or because their son’s teacher complained that the “good, sweet boy” they had raised asked “too many questions”, “spoke up”, or even – god forbid – “argued that the teacher had been mistaken”. Having nobody to consult with, these parents discussed these issues with each other; my parents, who had two such “troublesome” children were included. These talks took usually place in German, Hungarian and Yiddish: most of these parents did not know Hebrew well enough, but they also believed that “children must not know that we worry because of them”. This was my first lesson about gifted children: their parents always want the best for them; they are concerned about them, but too often they do not know how to fulfill their needs.
I started tutoring gifted children when still in high school; it was always their parents who approached me; the parents arranged for the lessons; the parents brought their children to my parents’ apartment and paid for the lessons. This has not changed since then. It is the parents who support their gifted children emotionally, socially, academically – practically in all life aspects. Parents are the soldiers who stand right there, in the battlefront against boredom, solitude and estrangement their children so often feel, as well as against lack of understanding, jealousy, a variety of prejudices and unwanted remarks or advices.
Dear Parents of gifted children:
You have been blessed with a precious treasure. But this treasure needs maintenance which is your sole responsibility. Sometimes it seems that there is nobody there for help, sometimes it looks like you are not even allowed to complain because your problems seem minor, or because “everybody would love to switch their child’s problems with yours”. Experts in psychology and education of the gifted are there to help you. But of no less importance is expanding your own knowledge about giftedness especially in subjects you need for your child or adolescent gifted girl or boy, such as double-exceptionality or the gifted-disabled, the gifted girl, the creative gifted child, the mathematically or scientifically gifted, the socially gifted, the artist, the stage star, the chess champion – or any other exceptional child.
Hanna David has recently published the first two books in the series Giftedness: Identification, Assessment, Nurturing,
Understanding Gifted Children: Perspectives, Gender Differences and Challenges (Edited by Hanna David)
The third book in this series, Dynamic assessment of gifted children, will be published in October 2020.