Gifted Children who are a Gift to the World, Part 2
by Jeannette Webb
In the last post we began a discussion about how to raise gifted kids. We continue today by looking at why service is so important.
Service is a fundamental part of the Christian lifestyle. May I suggest that it is absolutely essential for gifted children? They need to be routinely called outside themselves for the benefit of someone else. They need to figure out that life is about serving others, not about them. They need to daily serve their family. They should be expected to make personal sacrifices for the benefit of all.
I am not talking about service in the area of their giftedness. A musician does not benefit from performing at a charity event – that just provides a bigger audience to praise her. A socially inept computer whiz learns nothing from spending time alone programming the church computer. While it goes without saying that our children should use their talents to serve others, we must also include sacrificial service outside their natural gifting that costs them something and keeps them humble. They need tough responsibilities that rest on their shoulders such that if they fail, someone suffers.
It is vital that we pursue service opportunities as a family. We need to be involved with our kids. This is where the real learning takes place. If you are a member of huge, feel good church where everything is provided for you (i.e. multitudes of youth pastors to cater to young teens’ every whim), don’t expect your kid to learn what it means to be a servant leader. This common scenario will teach them the opposite – that it’s all about them. It doesn’t take long at all for them to develop the attitude that life owes them entertainment and Starbucks coffee.
My son was blessed beyond measure in that he had the daily example of a father with a servant’s heart. Pious lip service will only turn intelligent kids into cynics. They need to see the real thing, over and over, in the lives of people they love. Austin saw this in his father. He also saw it in his mentor, a brilliant chemist and elder at our church who rolls up his sleeves to work with the rest of us. Knowing that this highly successful man took his turn at church scrubbing toilets and vacuuming carpet gave my son a perspective on what it means to wash others’ feet that nothing else could.
Next time we’ll talk about the importance of finding things that are hard for our gifted kids. The reasons will surprise you!
Copyright 2008 Home Life, Inc., PO Box 1190, Fenton, MO 63026-1190, (800) 346-6322, www.home-school.com. Originally published in Practical Homeschooling # 82. A Practical Homeschooling subscription is $19.95 for six issues. Used by permission.
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