NPR’s Garrison Keillor often opens his program by saying, “Welcome to Lake Wobegon, where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average.” We all laugh, but how many of us have thought, “I think my child is above average”? Admit it, we all have!

My younger sister got married 13 years before I did. She and her husband started their family and quickly had three children under five years old. When they started homeschooling their children, I was often a sounding board for curriculum decisions. I’d help research for good deals and free resources. I knew if I ever had children, I would also homeschool them.

I started several homeschool websites, attempting to help other parents find resources more easily and quickly. I wrote articles and went to conventions. I was even involved in my local homeschool group.

Since I married late in life, by the time I had my first child, most of my friends my age were helping their children get into college. I consoled myself with the thought that an older parent is a wiser one. (I’m not sure that’s true, but it was consoling.)

Of course, I fell into the same trap that every parent does: “Wow! My child is only ____ and already she is _____.” Whether it was walking, talking, or running down the hall, I wondered if my child was “above average” or maybe even gifted. She pressed me at 3 to do school. Then at 4 she started Kindergarten. So I did begin to seriously wonder if she was gifted… and if she is, what should I do?

That is how I started my quest to understand giftedness. What is it? What should I do about it? I hope you enjoy the fruit of my research and gain a new understanding, as I did, of what exactly is gifted and how it affects our family, our church, and our community.

Faithe Thomas

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