Thursday, February 09, 2006

A father's chronicle (Celebrating normalcy)

They run just like my son. They talk like my son. They argue, they ponder.... but they are not "normal". I mean, these kids are not just above average. They are gifted. Yes, I am not refering to my son. There is a difference between being intellgent and being gifted. And, sure, there is a gap between between "normal" and "intellgent".

Our society is a strange one. Alot of focus goes to the "bright" ones. They are featured in papers (e.g. last weekend, there was a whole section on them). These kids (err... they are working adults now) are not like the kids next door. They are really heading for the heavens! Their career is planned before they start. Their lives are mapped out - lived in the upper 1% of the society.

My son is not gifted. Actually, it came as a bit of pain when I realized/accepted that (huh, are you joking, Paul?). But let me quote again from the book (which sort of summarized my experience):

At first this intuition is painful. Emilio will not be a genius after all. Or at least I won't be able to make him exceptionally intelligent. It is the death of a dream. But I feel relief. I give him permission, inside me, to be what he is. Perhaps he will be an ordinary child. I realize that I no longer have control of the process.... Expectations. You can see them everywhere... Thus children are turned into pretty knickknacks, supergifted monsters, sports champions, or just good little puppets who never get into trouble because they are already only half alive....Bit by bit I also discover new ways of loving. After all, how can I truly love my children if at the same time I wish they were different?

Nope, my son cannot swim 100m in 3 minutes flat (that's the gold standard, btw for their age category). He cannot tell you the order of planets (I didn't get it right either, besides the first and last)... he is normal, ordinary, and he is my son.

He is honest (he cannot stand to tell lies)... his best attempt is to keep quiet. He does not bully the weak. He is helpful. He is a friend when you are in need of help, he does not chick-out on you when you are in the deepest hole. He cries when you are hurt. He laughes when you are happy. He shares his last piece of chocolate and will gladly share his toys too... and yes, he forgets (which can be the best part).

He is normal. He is ordinary. He is my son. I am so glad that he is who he is.

It is great to be.... normal.

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