It’s very easy to fall into the habit of only thinking about the negatives. I do it. In fact, it runs in my family – anxiety is a fact of life for more than one generation. But today, I want to talk about the positives. It’s easy to talk about the positives and negatives of my family’s special needs, and it is also easy to talk about the negatives of giftedness. It’s even marginally socially acceptable. But today I’m breaking the mould. I am going to talk about the positives of being a gifted family. Because without talking about those ‘oh wow!‘ moments, it’s hard to understand why being gifted is so different from the norm. Today I’m being brave. So here we go.
- My daughter loves playing Parking Panic. She calls it ‘parking garage,’ which is very cute, as is her cross face when I ‘get it wrong’. She is exceptionally good at this game, which is a visual-spatial logic puzzle where she has to free the main car from a mess of other cars. She loves it on the computer, she loves it as a board game (where it’s called Rush Hour), and she loves lining up her cars and creating her own puzzles. I have sat and watched her easily solve 20 in a row. The board game has various levels of challenge – Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, Expert and Grand Master. J is easily able to do up to Intermediate, and is usually able to figure out the Advanced ones once she gets beyond her panicked ‘I can’t do it’ moments. (BTW, I struggle with beyond Intermediate, as Advanced puzzles usually require between 10-20 moves to solve).
- My son loves topology. That’s not topology as in maps (though he loves that too), but the mathematics of topology. Think Escher and you’re on the right track. He loves talking about topologically similar objects, and the various rules that you use to determine whether things are topologically similar (ie. number of holes, un-tearability etc)
- While watching a Brian Cox documentary on time (which was designed for layman), my son started asking deep questions on Brane theory (as it was being explained), about it’s testability, detectability and whether Branes with existing universes would notice if they collided (could they pass through each other or only weakly react), or would it start a new universe? I’ve got a few university-level courses under my belt on physics, but I was completely stumped on how to answer these ones. And I couldn’t find the answers online either! I could only find technical info (which was beyond me), or basic layman intros that didn’t really answer the questions. Thankfully, a few very kind physics friends helped out, and C was satisfied with their answers … for the moment.
- My daughter loves creating extremely elaborate stories around her toys. Story really is her forte (even her car-games have a narration attached). The thing is, the stories she attaches to her toys aren’t usually linked to what the toys look like. Though she does like creating patterns and assigning those patterns to various characters – even numbers have characters and stories. She once drew a page of 2s where each had a different story and personality. Woe betide the parent who disturbs her story in a bid to clean.
- My son has finally jumped on the bandwagon of Minecraft. Mostly it’s playing and watching. But occasionally he floors me. When I casually speculated on whether not-gates could be created in Minecraft (and yes, he’s done quite a bit of logic-gate work through various other physics engines, so he has the basics of Boolean Algebra covered), he went and looked it up and then spent a few intense minutes explaining how to create not-gates using redstone torches.