SPRING HILL, FL – Our present government-school culture is infatuated with a student’s mental quickness on standardized tests. These students are highly valued and placed in advanced classes and often given the “gifted” label. Any label can have a positive or negative impact on an individual student even being “gifted.” A gifted student is not above average in every area and might not have good common sense which limits them.
Children with unique attributes, talents or characteristics are often overlooked as they do not score highly on achievement tests. Too often some of these children are seen as deficient instead of noting their special attributes. Being empathetic, sensitive to the needs of others, resilient, kind, artistic, or insightful are sometimes disregarded but would be wonderful traits in an adult.
In many cookie-cutter schools these skills and characteristics are not important in our educational programs. Whatever is keeping a student from thriving, often is identified, and labeled. This labeling process can become an albatross around the neck of a student keeping them from overcoming the deficit. A label is rarely removed even when it has been corrected. Often attention-deficit, explosive-behavior, anti-social and many other behaviors can become the school’s major concern for the child. Inevitably a new label will further confuse the process by not looking at the student’s positive potential to do an excellent job in other academic areas. This label remains as the government school’s excuse for their ineffectiveness and parent’s inability to socialize their children well.
The label often hinders a child’s potential to become an excellent student. A student can take on a different persona when excited about a new subject or activity. This focus may fade quickly or be overtaken by other interests. Student interests are not static but constantly evolving when one activity leads them to another. Positive grades and reports from a teacher can rekindle the spirit of the student’s belief in himself. This can lift the student’s progress in all endeavors. Students like all of us do not remain static.
Being successful as an adult is multi-faceted. Higher IQ does not always transfer into success in the rough and tumble world of adulthood. You can graduate from college with a high academic GPA or impressive credentials, but success depends on many variables like determination, resilience, and successfully confronting challenges and overcoming them. When a boss assigns a difficult task that the person has no idea how to solve, they need to take initiative, think, and search for sensible ideas to solve a specific problem.
Time management is essential to be successful in life. In almost every situation the supervisor assigns an objective to a subordinate and wants it done as soon as possible. Excuses eventually prove the employee is incapable of getting the assignment done in a timely manner. Regardless of how smart a person thinks he is, not getting an assignment done on time is a liability that can end opportunities and advancement.
In life there are personal issues that happen such as illnesses, death of a loved one, divorce, accidents and physical or mental health traumas. These issues must be dealt with while the person still maintains focus on professional obligations. Success requires resilience to deal with many aspects of life simultaneously.
Modern life requires adults keeping “many balls in the air,” making instant decisions to accomplish all these tasks. The need to be flexible to adjust one’s routine is essential. Many social skills are needed to deal with co-workers, friends, and family members. These people are not only focused on how bright a person is but how well they can be a team player. Interpersonal skills can often outshine cognitive abilities.
In this world of “Siri” children can appear “brilliant” by obtaining answers to any question with a cellphone. Many parents are impressed with their children’s apparent intelligence. The reality is modern children have many electronic tools to retrieve and memorize information that was unavailable to children in the past, however many do not listen to adult instructions. Often children today are not reaching the milestones of appropriate maturity at the expected age.
Too many people carry an inflated opinion of themselves because of parent’s low expectations.
When a child physically matures and enters the adult world adults expect the adolescent to have many competencies. Being confident is only one of these competencies that gives value to their position.
Parents, schools, and adults in our culture must evaluate the whole child not just their verbal “cuteness.” Apparent intelligence is only one of many attributes that make up a functional adult.