How To Best Treat the Highly Gifted

By acknowledging their talent and granting them the opportunity to develop what nature gave them. But not at the expense of those whose gifts are not as manifest or who have less ability.

Who is highly gifted? Anyone who displays an ability that makes others stop and notice.

As the exceptional gift is nurtured and expressed, the person is rewarded by further acknowledgment, thereby confirming that they are on a fruitful path. The experience is empowering even if material riches were not to follow.

The fact that a person does something well does not mean they will have enlightened opinions on other subjects. Being deft in one area and obtuse in another is a common occurrence.

The highly gifted are not self sufficient. They rely on the rest of us to further facilitate their particular talent. Interdependence is a fact of life.

When we recognize the gifted person’s ability we are saying, ‘You have something special. Thank you. May you go on to fulfill your promise.’

We then must turn to ourselves and ask, what gifts do I have? For all of us have something that, if one commits to, will likely become a source of much satisfaction.

Say that a person identifies a talent for doing electrical work. If developed, such ability will be a source of pride. Such person can say to themselves, ‘I’m a good electrician. People whom I assist are most gratified by my work.’ That person can then look at someone highly gifted in whatever area and say, ‘my gifts are not of such magnitude as yours but they are gifts, for I can solve problems and am self reliant and competent as a person.’

There is a freeing effect that comes from acknowledging that others have powers we may not have. When we say, ’you have discovered yours, I will discover mine,’ such acceptance will bring us much peace and enjoyment.

Now say that a person has marked intellectual limitations but they find they are good at cleaning offices. In fact, they take pride in it. There’s a dignity that comes to a person making an effort to contribute to the extent of their abilities. If it is something the person values and helps them contribute to the community at large, it becomes a gift.

The highly gifted should not be insulated by preferential treatment because they may then forget the plight of the less able.

Nature chooses to give a very special gift to some and not to others. A pretty woman will favor a man and not another. We have no control over that. It is the woman’s choice and nature at work. If we don’t accept it, then we succumb to envy or resentment and in doing so waste precious time needed to find what is truly ours.

For a society to be well functioning, it is essential that ample educational and training opportunities be granted to all its citizens. The highly gifted will find their way and in the process learn how to value the work of others.

Some years ago I saw a documentary on a school in a Scandinavian country, not sure which. The clip I recall showed students of varying abilities working side by side in the same classroom, and the better able taking some time to assist those who were less so.

I suppose one could say that to maximize efficiency, all the less able should be put in a different room and assigned to a teacher specializing in instructing them. But something vital would be lost. The less able are likely to be soon forgotten – perhaps even devalued.

And the very gifted may soon forget how lucky they are.