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100 Words of Wisdom: Norma Hafenstein

By Norma Hafenstein.

In approximately 100 words, experts from around the world offer their perspective on some aspect of giftedness.


Giftedness follows us throughout our lifetime. As parents we work to support the intensities, sensitivities, and unique perspective of our children. To be effective, however, we must acknowledge these characteristics in ourselves. These characteristics require nurturance of self. Allow those feelings that come so quickly. Perhaps channel them into an act of compassion or just feel the tear drops. Recognize intensity in ourselves! Sing out from your very soul! Share the joy or stand beside another in grief. Yes, our very actions are our children’s greatest teacher, and the greatest gift we can give them is to take care of ourselves.

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Dr. Norma Hafenstein resides in Denver, Colorado. During her doctoral work in 1984, Norma founded the University Center for Gifted Young Children, which subsequently became the Ricks Center for Gifted Children. Norma directed the school for 29 years and in 1997 founded the Institute for the Development of Gifted Education which she continues to direct. She is currently the Ricks Endowed Chair for Gifted Education in the Morgridge College of Education at the University of Denver where she teaches graduate courses in gifted education. Her research in the areas of young gifted children, gifted girls and cognitive processing has led to multiple publications and honors.

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