Wellbeing—A No Limits Approach

14 Jun

This blog is part of the New Zealand Gifted Awareness Week Blog Tour

What does wellbeing mean to children with non-ordinary minds and non-ordinary needs, and more than that—children living, suddenly, like the rest of us, in utterly non-ordinary times? The way our educational systems were, often too rigid to meet the unusual needs of the brightest students, they now face the even greater challenge of adapting to a world whose future seems utterly unpredictable. It may be true that we’ve never really known what lies ahead, but now we know that we don’t know. One thing that seems certain is that we won’t be able just to return to the way things were before. That’s both a bad thing and a good thing. Bad in that the disruption has forced us to design new ways to cope, good in that we now know that new designs are possible.

Emergencies force us to rethink, fast! This pandemic, the greatest emergency our current world has ever faced, has created limits we have never had to deal with before. As I write this my county in the state of New York is still on lockdown, and schools are closed at least until next fall. Parents have been forced quite suddenly to address the issues of homeschooling (ironically, a method that was once illegal in all 50 states) and teachers are having to rethink methods they may not even have questioned before.

In addition to the obvious stresses and changes to normal ways of doing things, we need to recognize that gifted kids have some kinds of stresses that are particular to this population. Their natural zest for information makes them unusually aware of the news, and with minds especially good at following logical connections, they may be looking well beyond the new stresses and limits in their own lives and worrying about how each one spawns limits and dire problems in the rest of the world. Many also have unusual empathy, so can’t help but feel for the populations most at risk.

Wellbeing for our kids and ourselves will depend on how we choose to focus our attention. All day every day we are “telling ourselves a story” about what’s going on in our lives and the world around us. Now is exactly the time in our world that we most need the advice Mr. Rogers says his mother gave him, to “look for the helpers.” Rather than focusing on the stresses, losses and limits, we can notice what others are doing to work around and through them, and we can focus our capable minds on ways to create new possibilities for ourselves and others. While as individuals we can’t “save the world,” everything we do changes it in some way. A small bit of help, a new creation, a thoughtful act, a moment of kindness or good cheer, making someone laugh, all make a difference and every difference radiates out in ways we can’t predict.

There are no limits to the impact of each positive story.

“How wonderful it is to think that we can broadcast ‘mental germs’ of confidence, of love, of peace, of joy, of goodwill. How wonderful to know that each one of us can so influence [their] environment that everyone who steps into it will be benefited.” –Ernest Holmes, 1971.

 

2 Responses to “Wellbeing—A No Limits Approach”

  1. Passport Overused June 14, 2020 at 11:38 am #

    Great post 😁

  2. Paula Prober June 14, 2020 at 3:23 pm #

    Thank you for this Stef. I love this part especially: “While as individuals we can’t “save the world,” everything we do changes it in some way. A small bit of help, a new creation, a thoughtful act, a moment of kindness or good cheer, making someone laugh, all make a difference and every difference radiates out in ways we can’t predict….”

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