I used to use language very freely with kids, not really listening to what I was saying. Anyone who knows me well, knows I love to talk, use words, and love to use alliterations, and figures of speech. With a child who is exceptional, however, this can become problematic. For instance, I wasn’t really paying attention when I said to Michael that he is “obsessed” with directions. I meant it in a positive way, but of course after hearing him use it, and thinking a little more carefully, I realize that it has a negative connotation. You know like that person is obsessed with someone etc. Yesterday afternoon as Michael was navigating streets on Google Maps with an old cell phone that my husband doesn’t use anymore and is used exclusively for that (yes, he’s in IT :)), I heard Michael say those words back to me,
“Mommy, I’m obsessed with directions.”
I quickly corrected him.
“No, you’re not honey. You’re good with them. You’re excellent at navigating.”
He looked at me puzzled for a minute.
“Obsessed means something that is not healthy. It’s very healthy what you’re doing. You know all your directions. You’re very talented in that area just like Daddy is with fixing computers and Mommy is with writing (hey, I have healthy self-esteem what can I say.:) ).
“Ok Mommy. Look I’m on the highway now.”
And he proceeded to show me which way he was driving.
All our children have hidden talents and strengths that we need to encourage. And just because our exceptional children show these in a more intense kind of way does not mean it is not healthy. That is a lesson I have only recently learned. Michael has shown me that being intent on something can be healthy and exciting. After all, aren’t I like that when I’m in the throes of writing? I am. And isn’t his father like that too when he is fixing up old machines or helping people solve their complex computer issues? Of course he is.
What talents do you have Exceptional Moms? What talents do your Exceptional Children possess? If you’ve labeled your talents or theirs as obsessions, stop doing that right now, and look at these gifts for what they are, gifts to be used for yours and society’s betterment. We are all here for a reason, and if we don’t use what our calling is telling us to use, it is not only a bad example to our children of what they are capable of, but also a loss for ourselves and what we are capable of. Until next time.