When I first saw the topic, Mysteries of Giftedness, as the theme of the June Hoagies’ Gifted Blog Hop, my first inclination was to write on several phenomena of giftedness that we see through the lifespan. I thought of touching the mystery, the intuitive powers of many gifted individuals, and emotional giftedness as an often misunderstood phenomenon. I will write on those three topics, however with an addition, and with a twist.
Touching the Mystery. My friend and mentor, Annemarie Roeper, and I were sitting in her living room one evening looking at scene below and in the distance. She remarked that looking in the forefront of her view, she saw cars, buses and the Bay Area Rapid Transit trains that arrived and left the station below. All of these, she shared were filled with people, going here and there, rooted in their busy world. Then, she pointed to the distance, where we could see the San Francisco Bay, the Golden Gate Bridge, and above these, a dark blue night sky. She pointed to the sky and intimated that there was where the mystery lies for her – the beyond.
The mystery, as my friend and mentor Annemarie Roeper explained it, is that which is beyond reality as we know it. In this regard, she often spoke of the gifted children of the new millennium as being much more in touch with the mystery than those of previous generations. She proposed that they have a keen awareness of themselves and their origins. Dr. Roeper proposed that millennial gifted children perceive themselves as mere visitors here in this life, sensing that they would someday return to a larger consciousness – the mystery.
For many, the phenomenon of giftedness may bring with it moments of transcendence – moments when we come to see ourselves as integral parts of the mystery – of the interconnectedness of the universe. As an example of many transcendent moments that I have experienced, I remember a morning summer walk on a country road. The trees on one side of me and meadows on the other still damp with the early dew. I rounded a corner, looked far down the road in the distance, and suddenly I was filled with an overwhelming sense of connection to a universal expression of love. In such moments, we touch the mystery.
Intuitive Abilities of Gifted Individuals. I remember one summer when I was a little girl. I know that I was still a preschooler because of the house that I was standing beside. I turned on an outside faucet and felt the cool water from the hose running over my hand. When I looked up at the summer scene surrounding me, I wanted that moment to last forever and for the season to never end. At that instant, the realization flashed through my mind that this was summer, to be followed by fall, winter, spring, and then summer again. No one had taught me the seasons. In fact in that moment, I am not sure if I could have named them. It was just that I had an intuitive sense of the world and its revolving nature.
Intuitive thinking, in my opinion, springs from the ability of gifted individuals to think abstractly at a much earlier age than most children do. There is speculation that gifted children’s prefrontal cortex, where higher level abstract thinking occurs, develops earlier than that of other children. I have worked with gifted children who were demonstrating adult level abstract thinking as early as two and three years old. Abstract thinking is an important component of intuitive thinking.
Emotional Giftedness as the Heart of Giftedness. Returning to my friend, Dr. Roeper, I hear her voice once again telling me that emotions are the heart of giftedness. When trying to understand gifted children, educators and researchers often focus on their strong cognitive abilities. However, because of their superior cognition and the fact that they are aware and react to almost all stimuli in the environment, including reading the emotions of others, their own emotions run so deep, with all their consequent sensitivity and intensity. It is exactly because of their emotional giftedness that it is so important that we understand the Self of the child and that we hear and acknowledge their emotions. As gifted elders, our own emotions are just as important. We cannot separate cognition from the emotional and we must honor the integration of both in ourselves as well.
“Hello Old Friend, You’re Back Again.” I was recently chatting with a friend of mine who is also a former academic colleague. We were talking of the many projects each of us has recently begun as septuagenarians. He is a runner and used a very appropriate metaphor, which might resonate with gifted individuals concerning their continued creative productivity. He said, “I feel like I am just now approaching the starting line of life!” His words resonate strongly with me not only in terms of my need to be continually engaged and self-renewing. They also reverberate in terms of the mystery, of intuitive thinking, and of emotional giftedness. In so many ways I find that with gifted elderhood comes the realization that the phenomena of giftedness are never left behind. Rather, they constantly re-present themselves as old friends, back again.
Photo by Hunter Bryant on Unsplash: https://goo.gl/xt2AJL
This blog article is part of the Hoagies’ Gifted Education Page June 2016 Blog Hop on Gifted in Pop Culture. I thank my friends at Hoagies’ Gifted Education Page for their inspiration, support, and suggestions over the last two decades. You can see blogs of others here.