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Gifted Youth: Remember Who You Are

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Remember Who You AreWho are you? Do you know? Sure, you know you have a name and you recognize your image when you look in a mirror. Who do you listen to in trying to uncover more of who you are? Do you listen to entertainers, social media contributors, parents, teachers, friends, enemies, your religious leaders? These contributors to your image have certain messages that they want to get across. Some are positive. Some are not. Some are trying to sell you something, either real or imagined. Some know you well; others know you not at all.

You can change your name. Your looks can change, either by the aging process or by cosmetic or surgical means. You can even be swayed by effective advertising or persistent messages. What you can’t change is your essence, who you truly are and what you brought with you when you were born. You can ignore it, enhance it, pretend it’s not there, or acknowledge it. The choice is yours.

Self-knowledge gives you independence, empowerment, and confidence and will likely contribute to a life where you pursue your passions with success. That lifelong success and fulfillment is why I believe self-knowledge is so critically important for gifted young people to pursue. Schools often hamper this process by diverting students to use their time in ways that don’t interest, intrigue, or challenge them. Such time could be better spent on finding out who you really are and not depending on others to make that determination for you. So how do you stay on the road to self-knowledge? Most of you are doing the following suggestions already, but I hope you will now think of them with increasing focus toward being at one with your true self.

Be sure to read widely-learn about as many topics as you can. Find out which ones interest and fascinate you and try to understand why they do. Engage in hobbies, ask lots of questions, find a mentor, and apprentice with someone you connect with on multiple levels, if possible.  Ask your teachers to allow you time to learn about things during the school day that interest you if such topics are outside the curriculum. Suggest ways to the teachers to do this-whether opting out of review time, doing independent study instead of a class project, forming a club or group of like-minded peers within your classes, or whatever solution might make sense in your particular school situation. Join school-wide groups that share your interest. Write about what you know, wonder about what you don’t know, and explore your feelings about people, places, and things. Discover yourself from every angle. Then you’ll have a good idea of where you should be going and give direction to where you want to go. You are a unique individual. Intense self-knowledge can guide you successfully throughout your life.

If anyone reading this blog has additional suggestions to help gifted individuals be more self-aware, please do share with us so we can help each other.

All the best,

Barbara Swicord, Ed.D.
CEO, National Society for the Gifted and Talented (NSGT)
President, Summer Institute for the Gifted (SIG)

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