By Tiffany O'Neill.
I am fortunate to spend the majority of my day working with gifted students and their families. Many of the struggles I see young people encounter are the same, played out again and again in the disappointments and frustrations that they share with me.
With 2013 upon us, I, like many others, have been thinking a great deal about resolutions. Although I really should spend some time developing resolutions for myself, (goodness knows I need some) I thought about what a list might look like if I could magically create one for each of my students. 2013 would be a great year if gifted kids would make these resolutions!
1. I will value my unique strengths and embrace my shortcomings. Not everyone can be good at everything. I won’t try to be. I will focus on what I do best and be creative about how I can transform my weaknesses into assets.
2. I will advocate for myself in school and in the community. I have a voice. Since I’m pretty smart, I owe it to myself (and humanity at large) to share my ideas.
3. I will spend more time creating. Whether it is art, poetry, music, or robots, the process of creation, with its many pitfalls and peaks, will strengthen all of my endeavors.
4. I will read more. Not just novels assigned to me in class, but also what interests me, what entertains me, what takes me away from the realities of the world.
5. I will seek out new learning experiences. I know that I will struggle and probably embarrass myself, but I am confident that the benefits of diversifying my experiences will outweigh these temporary discomforts.
6. I will accept—no, relish— failure. Failure is an opportunity for me to problem solve and to find out how strong I really am.
7. I will seek opportunities to pursue my special interests, whether they be focused around physics or parkour. I will take time to research, experiment, and practice my interests to see how they might impact my future.
8. I will develop and nurture my own kindness. I will put my gifts to work to help others.
9. I will find time to play. I realize that creativity and play are intertwined. If I am working on something meaningful to me, whether in school or out, that work will feel like play.
10. I will keep in mind that school is not everything. My gifts have a broader setting than academia. My grade point average does not define me. It will not be in my obituary; all of the allotted space will be taken up with the details of my discoveries, creations, and adventures.