Next week, July 20-26, our nation will celebrate National Parenting Gifted Children Week to bring broader awareness to the joys – and challenges – involved in raising academically gifted children.

On first glance, some may think parenting a gifted child is about as challenging as a multimillionaire deciding where to go on vacation or what car to purchase. But parents of these children – along with teachers, counselors and researchers – know this amazing joy is not without its share of struggles.

You’ve heard the line, “If you hear hoofbeats, expect horses, not zebras.” But gifted kids are zebras. The National Association for Gifted Children estimates that there are 3 million gifted children in grades K-12, approximately 6 percent of the student population. That breaks down to one, maybe two, gifted kids per classroom of 30 children, assuming everything is equal. One or two kids per classroom. That’s a lot of lonely zebras.

Just imagine how cool it would be for them to get together with a whole herd of other zebras. That’s where Mensa’s Gifted Children’s Program comes in. GCP activities get together the two 5-year-olds who get in trouble for taking apart the toaster to find out how it works and connect the two 10-year-old girls who not only want to customize their online NeoPets but also talk about their anatomy and physiology. The Gifted Children’s Program also functions as a support group for gifted parents.

Locally, watch for programs for Young Ms on the calendar..
Mid-America Mensa’s gifted child coordinator can be contacted at [email protected]

By LESSA SCHERRER Gifted Childrens’ Coordinator, Mensa of Wisconsin Eau Claire