Of Hothousing and Guilt

I believe in some heritability for intelligence.  I don’t base this on any scientific proof – though you can find considerable proof for how much environment affects intelligence.  But this is based on my own personal experience as being a potentially profoundly gifted person who was born to a potentially profoundly gifted person and who has given birth to two potentially gifted children.

I believe that environment allows an average person to become above average in terms of intelligence, but it may not allow them to become profoundly gifted.

Now – with that out of the way – I don’t believe you can hothouse a child into being gifted.  And I don’t believe we are hothousing Boodle in any way.  We provide an intellectually stimulating environment (as much as we can anyway), but we don’t have a single flashcard in the house and he watches very little TV besides old school Sesame Street and Between the Lions (because he likes the puppets).*  There’s no “Your Baby Can Read” in our house.

And regardless of that, I still feel insanely guilty.  There are those who feel comfortable enough to tell others that their children are gifted.  I don’t.  And beyond telling, I feel uncomfortable being in situations with other babies and their parents, because Boodle won’t (and shouldn’t have to) hide his gifts.

The last time we were in an environment like that, he walked all the way around the person’s house several times while holding on to our fingers.  We got a few curious comments, but many different looks ranging from judgmental to shocked to what appeared to be concern because their kids weren’t doing that yet.  So I avoid these types of events.

Even today I didn’t tell a good friend of mine anything that Boodle was doing because they’re trying for a baby and I didn’t want him to have the burden of comparison once they have a little one.

But this gives us the burden of a secret and one that I don’t like to keep.  I want to be able to tell people what he’s doing.  I want to be able to ask them for ability-appropriate advice without them getting caught up in his age.

And I’m just not sure how to deal with this.  Any ideas?

*We also let him watch the occasional SYTYCD or something like that when it’s like 2am in the morning and he has woken back up.  He seems to like to watch people moving.  He was enthralled with the snowboarding and figure skating events during the winter olympics.

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