I’m flying to New York to be on the TODAY show on August 7 on a topic that is near and dear to my heart: “How to raise inspiring children.” These are kids who are talented in different ways-theatre, art, music, preaching, charity-but the one thing they have in common is lifting the hearts of others. Their talents are also ones that aren’t usually show up on IQ test scores or even achievement tests – but they are clearly gifted. So how do we identify their gifts and what are ways to nurture them?
Those are the issues I’ll be discussing with Kathie Lee and Hoda. You’ll also have a chance to meet a few inspirational children who are clearly making a difference in the world.
My concern is in today’s ultra test-conscious society we may be squelching human potential by overlooking these kids. Several longitudinal studies by stellar scholars also warn that our view of “gifted” is far too narrow. Those studies also show that talent and inspiration can be nurtured in our children. But beyond talent, unless the child has a parent who recognizes that child’s passion, provides encouragement and the right resources, the “gift” never blossoms. Beyond talent, it appears character matters-the child must have a disciplined mindset to work hard and pursue his dreams. Even then, most of our most talented kids give up their gifts by age 13. The reason is tragic: we don’t provide enough time or opportunities for the child to practice or “show off” the skill!
I hope you tune in. Human potential is a terrible thing to waste!
Here are two of the best studies about immensely talented children and why some succeed while others fail. Hint: How they were parented and their first teachers were key!