Guest Author - Lorel Shea
Readers familiar with my articles will already be familiar with SENG and the great work that they do. SENG is a non-profit organization founded by James Webb in 1981. SENG'S purpose is to support the often overlooked social and emotional needs of gifted children and adults. Their mission statement sums it up nicely: “SENG is dedicated to fostering environments in which gifted adults and children, in all their diversity, understand and accept themselves and are understood, valued, nurtured, and supported by their families, schools, workplaces and communities.”
SENG has declared the third week of July to be National Parenting Gifted Children Week. This event is recognized in the national registry of special events, and highlighted by the National Organization for Gifted Children (NAGC) . If you can't attend the annual SENG conference which coincides with this special week, there are other ways you can celebrate and recognize the gifted children in your home and community.
The NAGC recommends that parents and teachers of gifted children use this week as an opportunity to raise public awareness through the media. Writing a letter to the editor of a local paper or to your local congressman may help to highlight a lack of school programming for gifted students or to congratulate local educators on a job well done. One letter can make a difference!
Gifted program teachers and well informed parents can also donate their time to running informational sessions at their local community center or library. In communities where gifted programs do not exist, people are often confused by terminology and may believe that gifted programs are elitist or unnecessary. By disseminating factual information on gifted kids and education, volunteers can eliminate many false impressions and gently bring misinformed people around to seeing the benefits of special accommodations for gifted learners. The Templeton report, the IOWA acceleration manual, and books like Genius Denied are great sources for this type of session. Study after study demonstrates that gifted kids achieve more and have greater life satisfaction when they have work that is personally meaningful and at an appropriate challenge level.
If you really want to make an impact on a more personal level, consider mentoring a gifted child. Mentors can work with a child in just about any field, and a mentoring relationship will enrich the lives of both participants. Kids who are most likely to succeed in life have interested adults besides their parents advising them, offering guidance, and just listening to their dreams and aspirations. Mentors can have a huge impact on their young charges. Plato had Socrates and then went on to mentor Aristotle. Aristotle, in turn, mentored Alexander the Great. Many people who have made outstanding contributions in their fields give credit to older, more experienced people who assisted them. Gene Roddenberry had Isaac Asimov, Jay Leno had Johnny Carson, and hundreds of college students credit E. Paul Torrance, a gifted college professor, known as “The Father of Creativity” as having had a major impact in their lives.
You may read more about SENG and National Parenting Gifted Children Week by following the link provided at the end of this article.