I have to thank my friend Heather for this comment, that kept nagging my brain ever since she wrote it.
Do you really think that your research and knowledge is only valuable if you get paid for it? I find that the more I research about the topics that help me and my family, we are actually saving money on something else. For example–I love nutrition and natural health. Therefore, I am saving us money on healthcare costs and even grocery bills if I research frugal nutrition. I research learning styles and other parenting topics and ways to teach my children. If I wasn’t doing this, my kids would NEED someone else, like a tutor or class to stimulate them in the ways they need. So to me, I am making money.
Oh, is she ever so right. I got to thinking about it, and all that my research has done for me and my family. For starters, with regards to my recovering selectively mute daughter. I replied and said this:
This is what was suggested we find professionals for:
1) sensory OT
2) get a behavioral specialist to develop a behavioral plan and IEP –
4) get into a movement program – specifically feldenkrais
5) listening therapy
6) Family therapy to help all of us cope.
By doing it myself I saved on 1) the cost of whatever insurance wouldn’t cover 2) time having to take her to therapists 3) gas (especially in the case of the behavioral specialist and feldenkrais who were both at least 45 minutes away).
Regarding the studying of gifted issues, and learning styles, and learning disabilities like dyscalculia, I have learned a lot. I can do a lot of things to stimulate my girls minds, because not only do I not want to put them in all sorts of after school activities this young, I can’t really afford to. Besides, I know I can do as good if not better than most enrichment programs (at least around here). And, setting up my other blogs has really helped others help their families too. I do feel good about that.
And, because of the encouragement I’ve been given from Heather, I’ve decided to expand some things on the other two blogs.
For The Wonder Years, I have some future posts planned. Another one on dyscalculia, since I have math difficulties and the first one has been so helpful, and a few on dyslexia I plan on having someone guest post for me on. I do think that it would be nice for my readers to read. I think there is a real need for more information on dyscalculia and math abilities. I also want to create and upload some math game printables for young children so that parents can benefit from it as I have done from other site’s free printables.
For The Exploration Station, I finally described some of the things I’d like to see for that blog in a post called Featured on and future growth. I don’t think there can ever be enough resources on promoting science in the younger years. I’d like to be a part of that.
And here’s the thing, I could go back to work, and get a job that pays money, and serves a small part in the STEM field (really small). Like some might say, I’d be little more than a cog in the wheel. Because let’s face it, I wasn’t doing something fantastic like being a part of a cancer research team. There’s a lot of little whispers in my brain that tells me I could affect a lot more people by helping to educate others on the things that are very important to me, which predominantly, is to promote math and science, and particularly in GIRLS.
Yes, I know I’m not an overt feminist. But, I do believe that girls should not let math and science be intimidating subjects, nor do I think gifted girls ought to let their abilities go underground because they are girls. I hear this happening a lot (not in my girls yet, fortunately, and I hope they never do) and I’d like to work on that. I also disagree with the notion that my girls need to see me work out of the home in order for them to be inspired to go after their dreams.
I recently came across this post from Gifted Universe called Ever Think Your Own Giftedness is Frustrating Your Gifted Child, and this particular section bothered me for days.
I believe children are most strongly influenced by what they see and experience, rather than what they are told. Our words, as much we as parents like to think they carry great weight with our children, usually do not. However, it is my opinion that what we DO influences our children a lot. So, if we spend much energy ensuring they have the ‘right’ education for their intellectual gifts but do not use our intellectual gifts in our work, what do our gifted children make of that? If we encourage our gifted children to manage their intensities, their passions and their intellect but do not do the same for ourselves, what do they learn? If we tell our gifted children to embrace who they are while we deny our own giftedness – which is the stronger message? I really do think that understanding one’s own giftedness is one of the most powerful ways we can support our gifted children.
See, the thing is, a few days after reading it, and thinking about what Heather said, I now know WHY it bothered me so much. It bothered me so much because it suggested to me that I’m NOT using my intellectual gifts in my work, because, really, I don’t have a job. Now, I’m pretty sure that wasn’t the author’s intent, but that’s how I interpreted it. Especially when I HAVE HAD mothers on the internet (on a couple of occasions) use me as an example of why they can’t possibly ever quit their jobs – in essence they don’t want to turn out depressed and whiny like me. 😉 Not that I blame others for that, I WAS despressed, I DO whine, and sometimes even I get sick of my own whining.
But, then, particularly after reading Heather’s comments and the comments on the blogs in general, I AM using my intellectual gifts in my work. Only my work is volunteer, not paid. I provide a service to my family and to other families. I also use my scientific knowledge to stimulate my kids, and educate other parents on where to go for more information (whether it’s for selective mutism, gifted issues or educational ideas). I use my gifts of writing to explain science projects and educate parents on different topics. My girls have seen through what we do that I love science, that it’s important to me, and that I still consider it a high priority even though I’m not working a scientific job.
Last summer, when I mentioned it to the science summer camp teachers what I did for a living in my previous life at the end of the session, they were so excited and said, “we need to have you come back next year and give a talk to the kids”. Yes, maybe I should. I do have the potential to do something I have secretly wanted to do: inspire young people to love learning and especially science as much as I do. After the holidays, I also plan on hosting a science club at my house at least once every 2 weeks. I plan on inviting a few of my daughters’ friends to come and do some science projects with us. I do know there is interest for it.
And about the work opportunity I thought I had before, while it seemed to interest me for a little while, I do know it didn’t last. It didn’t move me into much action. I could have used it to fill up my time, perhaps learned a few new things or two, but really, it didn’t call to me like these other things do. I know that when I drag my feet on things, it’s usually a bad sign. It usually means my heart isn’t in it. I am beginning to know what my heart wants to do, at least at this point in my life.
There is LOTS I’m doing with my gifts and talents. Yes, sure bringing in some income would be nice, but that’s not why I do what I do. I do these things and disseminate information because I want to help others. It seems, in that regard, I’m slowing becoming successful at it while at the same time, being with my kids during these formative years. I think I should learn to appreciate all that I do instead of whine about all that I’m not doing.