As the world looks to the gifted community to solve their problems, we have a responsibility to put on our oxygen masks first.Barry Gelston, M.Ed.
The Gifted Community is a collective of individuals who are as different as they are unique. We are part of a club that is defined by each one of us being an outlier to the norm. We are divergent, excitable, sensitive, and perceptive. The truth is that we may not even want to or feel comfortable identifying as “Gifted.” For many, growing up as different without understanding why has meant feeling alone in a crowd and feeling misunderstood. We laugh at the wrong punchline, share references that most don’t get, and feel passionately about serious topics that only cause glazed eyes and snickers in others.
So What Is it That We Have in Common?
For various reasons, most of us feel separate, introverted, and focused on our regular individual pursuits. Among us, there is no clear standard-bearer, just archetypes that have little to do with our personal realities. The question remains, how do we find common ground where our commonality is our uniqueness—our individual differences from the norm? The reality is that our uniqueness is our commonality, and there is a lot to learn from it.
Gifted people go through a life-cycle of changes that need to be understood within the context of giftedness. For example, here are some areas that we can begin to consider as a complete overlay to norm-centric people:
- How do I learn to understand why and how we are different?
- How do we, as adults, find our own tribe?
- Who are the professionals that get us and can help us through life?
- How do we raise gifted kids who struggle to find their tribe?
- Should gifted learning be considered a special education classification?
- How do we deal with twice-exceptionality?
- Is our addiction to drugs and alcohol different?
- Do we have the same type of relationship issues?
- How do we find our place in the workforce?
We Are Responsible to Put on Our Oxygen Mask First.
In our community, we are a network. Our relationship reflects the infrastructure on which we are built. The GHF Dialogue is a hub that connects influencers and nodes alike. The GHF Dialogue is not an authority, rather we look to our community for our greatest strength, which is to understand the gifted experience from our diverse experiences and specialties. We are learners, thinkers, researchers, educators, artists, musicians, and craftspeople. We integrate and we specialize. We are serial thinkers, lateral thinkers, and relational thinkers. We can look at the world from a wide variety of angles with different perspectives and skillsets. As the world looks to the gifted community to solve their problems, we have a responsibility to put on our oxygen masks first.
How Do We Make This Community Work?
First and foremost, we must start our community from a place of presumed mutual respect and caring for others’ well being. We are here to educate and support each other. The ability to engage in a positive community experience is an important part of each of our personal development as gifted adults.
Articles are written to educate us on our gifted lives. Whether you are an industry expert or someone sharing your story, our goal is to share knowledge and experience that will help us learn from each other and ourselves. Stay away from proselytizing your politics or religion. At the same time, political scientists and theologians are welcome to share the interaction of giftedness and your professions just like any other.
We cannot tell you where the dialogue will take us, but it should be uniquely ours. Our dialogue will be focused on understanding ourselves so that we can enjoy happy, healthy lives. This is your journal, community, and repository for this quest to work together and support each other. Please consider submitting articles for our community (link).