Your Member of Parliament is probably gifted. Yes, you read that correctly. Think about it:
- Members of Parliament are popular… as the butt of jokes.
- People’s eyes light up when they realise an MP is actually listening to them, but only a special kind of person takes a sincere interest in the words of an MP.
- When an MP comes up with a solution to a problem, the result is often so far removed from the everyday, common sense solution that Joe Average is thoroughly mystified as to how it could possibly work.
- People assume that becoming a Member of Parliament can only happen after an over-privileged background with insanely pushy parents. Genuine leadership ability, they say, is very rare, possibly non-existent, and definitely somebody else’s problem.
- People don’t believe that Members of Parliament require any support, assistance or encouragement. Providing these things would only make matters worse.
Pretty much the same as your typical gifted child in a New Zealand school, actually. But unlike a kid at school, Members of Parliament have many years of life experience to help them deal with the seamier side of being gifted. And wine. We don’t give gifted kids wine.
However, unless your elected representative’s gifts extend into the field of narcissism (and we won’t name any names) it is highly unlikely that he or she thinks of him/herself as gifted. Gifted means like Einstein, right? Well, not quite. While Einstein was definitely gifted, many theorists today would regard the most able 5-10% in any field as gifted. Most people in that top 5-10% are more aware of what they’d still like to learn than what they already know. This helps gifted people to avoid complacency, but it also gives giftedness a kind of invisibility – an awareness barrier. Most gifted people do not feel gifted.
Next week is Gifted Awareness Week. Please ask your MP to consider the possibility that he or she may be gifted. Then suggest a school visit, along the following lines:
- Go into classrooms and look for the children who seem like possible future Members of Parliament.
- Ask those children what they are learning at school and what they’d really like to learn.
- Ask them whether school ever lets them down.
If every Member of Parliament does that much and no more this Gifted Awareness Week, we will achieve greater awareness. Awareness is surely the root of all policy… or let’s hope so.
Find other #NZGAW Blog Tour posts at ultranet.giftededucation.org.nz/WebSpace/874/.
You can contribute to gifted awareness by reading, writing or sharing posts. Please also consider talking to a parent, a teacher, a school board member or a principal about giftedness. If at all possible, write to your Member of Parliament.