Today's word is "Gift"
When I was six years old they started me in "gifted" programs. I had to leave my classes at a time dictated by my Pillsbury Doughboy watch (an Easter gift) and go to a different class. In this class, they spoke differently to us. They didn't slow down the reading so that... each... word... was... a... full... second... apart. They listened to our questions, they *really* listened, and they would answer us like a grownup would answer another grownup's question.
Apparently, my admission to at least one of these programs was based on a screening process in which I was supposed to read a list of words on the program coordinator's desk. Instead of the list, I read her telephone messages. Instead of "Aquarium, Extreme, Complement," I read, "Mr. Hudson called in regards to your Wednesday chiropractic appointment. Please call back to confirm by the end of the business day."
And this meant I was gifted.
I guess this status has created more problems in my life than it has created solutions. As a label, "gifted" is troublesome. As a reality, it's even more so. My current and most salient struggle is that I feel a deep-seated responsibility to this label. I can't get out from under the notion that this label has destined me for something more. And I am somehow letting them all down- the woman whose phone message I read, the teacher who let me play the film strips in that rarified world of the "gifted" class, every teacher who ever told me I didn't "apply myself," my proud parents who beamed when the news came that I had good enough SATs to be automatically enrolled in all state schools (at the tender age of 11).
I wish I could tell them all that somehow, someday, I'll make them proud. That someday it will have meant something that I was reading billboards before age 2, that I took National Geographic magazine to bed when I was 7. That they were right- I had boundless potential, and here... look here at what I'm doing now!
It's not a great time to be gifted, I don't think. But it has to get better.