[M]y oldest son is a “Sheldon Cooper.” I’m not kidding, he is the smartest, most intelligent, child I have ever met. He is currently a 6th grader. At age 10, Zachary has already skipped one grade level. He has an amazing photo graphic memory, speaks three languages, writes programming code and day trades for fun. His coding and portfolio puts me to shame. When he is bored, he memorizes the periodic table and masters Khan Academy’s high school and college curriculums. He is my little nerd.
But raising a gifted and talented kid is tough work and comes with its own set of problems. The stereotypes on the television show, The Big Bang Theory, are completely true. My son continues to miss most social cues, lacks peer empathy, and his constant resistance to change is beyond exhausting.
Change is Hard for Nerds
Several years ago, after the kids were out of school due to snow, my little nerd wouldn’t eat what his school was serving. Thanks to missed days of school, the printed menu plan had slipped back into previous days. “Daddy, they were supposed to serve corny dogs on Thursday, not Tuesday.” He had memorized the lunch calendar which didn’t consider inclement weather absences.
So how exactly is the best way to communicate these idiosyncrasies to his new teachers?
Ragging, Not Bragging
I take the opposite approach. I rag on my son to the teachers instead of bragging. This concept may seem totally skewed but quite effective. You see, all parents believe their children are ultra-smart and easy to teach. Most would tell their kids’ teachers that they are the brightest and the best behaved. This sets the bar high and teachers believe the parents are always biased in regards to the true intelligence of their children.
I further express that my child is quirky, weird, and resistant to change most of the time. This sets the bar low and encourages different teacher expectations. A few months later during future conferences, teachers confesses to me, something I already know… “Your son is the smartest, extremely helpful to others and a best behaved in my class.”
This approach is an important one to note.
People relate better to imperfect people. We tend to favor the underdog and give more grace to those we can relate to. Humility is a lost art, especially among the intelligent and parents of gifted children. True talent comes out in time and need not be publicly promoted. Show don’t tell. Consider ragging, not bragging.
What tips do you have for communicating to others about your kids?
Images courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.