Here’s a testimonial from Alice, my goddaughter, who discovers her difference at a key moment: middle school!
Today, I’m going to tell you about a part of my life I’ve never talked about before.
It is a particular record i am proposing on the blog since I’m going to tell you aboutone of the most important people in my life: my goddaughter, who is also my niece and 12 years old.
Adolescence, a key period for young gifted
For the past two years, I’ve been talking a lot with my big sister about giftedness, zebras and what it’s like to be gifted as a teenager. My sister never wanted to be detected, she doesn’t feel the need. That’s what sets us apart.
Starting secondary school: the violence of the world in your face!
A year ago, my goddaughter Alice started secondary school. It’s the starting point fora feeling of being out of step and misunderstood, and above all, experiencing the way others look at you in an environment that can sometimes be very harsh: that of children, children who are becoming teenagers!
My own experiences as a gifted teenager in middle school
You can’t protect a child forever. At some point, he leaves the nest and confronts the others. In general, the end of elementary school and the start of secondary school are the times when young zebras develop a sense of difference.
I don’t like to make generalizations or put labels on things, but I wouldn’t wish my adolescence on anyone. Being an undetected zebra as ateenager was extremely difficult for me.
For the past three years, I’ve felt truly anchored and in my place, building a life that suits me and surrounding myself with chosen people. I’d like to help my super-genius goddaughter do this right now, without waiting until she’s 30 to find the little Hs in everyday life that help build her Happiness with a capital H.
My sister’s call, my goddaughter’s discovery of giftedness
When my sister asked me to help her understand what my goddaughter was going through, I remembered my terrible middle school years… Still, I had friends, I’m pretty outgoing, and I can say I was pretty popular.
Despite all this, I suffered the full force of the violence of certain other teenagers, certain adults and, above all, the awareness of the World in which we lived.Then again, I didn’t grow up in the age of the Internet and social networks…
This year, my sister’s middle school recognized her potential and put her on a special program for precocious children. I think how lucky we are that she’s at this college, that she’sbeen spotted and offered these extracurricular courses.
I would also like to thank all the teachers who are aware of this neurodiversity and who are doing a fantastic job in primary, secondary and high schools without having any prejudices about high potential.
Testimony of a teenager in the midst of discovering her precociousness.
Inside the head of a young zebra!
I’ve transcribed our Whatsapp conversation here exactly. I haven’t changed a single turn of phrase or word, although I have tried to correct the spelling mistakes. 🙂
Al, my cat, thank you for sharing these few words with me, I know how difficult it can be for you to open up. I know you’ll read the article, thank you for your trust, you can be proud of yourself, you’re a MAGNIFICENT person and I’ll always be there for you. ❤
How did you make the transition from primary to secondary school?
Well, even if I’ve lost a lot of friends of mine. It was certainly more complicated, but now I have more ability in the more creative subjects. It’s enough to make an exercise creative for me to find it more interesting. I find French rotten but once we were asked to make a poetic collection of four poems on a theme and decorate them according to the theme.
I had chosen the theme of water, but as there weren’t many poems I had to change the theme. I had lots of ideas. So I chose the theme of flowers. What took me the longest was deciding which of all my ideas I was going to use (smiley crying with laughter).
Were you apprehensive about starting secondary school? Did 6th grade go well?
Yes, I was apprehensive because I wondered if all the teachers would quickly give homework overnight, if I’d lose my best friend, if I’d get detention, if all the teachers would hate me. And in the end, most teachers gave homework. My best friend was soon manipulated by someone (I warned her) but I never got detention and none of the teachers hated me.
What do you like/dislike about middle school?
I like the teachers a lot for the most part and I hate having a lot of homework. I don’t like having to do work at home.
And why a poem about water?
Well, I love the ocean, all the little fish, the coral.
And what do you think about the fact that teachers think you have a different cognitive functioning and that you might be High Potential?
They must have a reason for saying it, but I really don’t know if they do.
But what do you think? Do you feel different from the others? How do you express yourself?
Much more creative than the others. I’m more thoughtful than most, I think. In my class, there aren’t many people who think for themselves.
And that makes things difficult for you?
Yes, I can’t work in a group most of the time.
Do you sometimes feel isolated?
Yes, because I feel a bit different.
What makes you happy and what do you enjoy in your everyday life?
Playing games and making up stories with my stuffed animals. 🙂
On the other hand, what do you hate?
Being kind of alone at home
What do you expect from these workshops with the other gifted people at the school?
A new way to learn.
And what about these workshops?
So cool. Can you make a dream come true?
What are you going to work on?
I’m going to create a Manga.
If you had the power to change things in the World (like superhero powers) what would you do?
I would make sure that no one felt devalued in comparison with others.
If you had to describe yourself in a few words, what would you say?
When you don’t know me, I’m not sociable, but it’s the opposite when you know me well.
I’ll leave you to appreciate the choice of words, their accuracy, this incredible maturity and, at the same time, a side that’s still so childlike! ndlr > The history of stories with stuffed animals!
To conclude on our gifted teenagers:
I don’t have any children of my own, but if you’re the parents, family or friends of budding zebras, my advice is to listen to them, consider them and reassure them. Behind their exceptional maturity,the feeling of insecurity is immense, and it’s our role as adults to reassure them, protect them and be there for them.
Don’t infantilize them, they hate it. They have only one authority, their own. If you want their respect, you have to earn it and be exemplary.
A zebra, adult or child, has cosmic intransigence!
He’ll be extremely demanding with you, but don’t forget thathe’s even more demanding with himself… The more he loves you, the harder he’ll be on you.
Don’t be discouraged, with time you’ll come to understand its mechanisms and connect with it…
What’s next? Only joy!
Read Alice’s story in the book Suivez le Zèbre inspired by the blog, with its original content and tips for living better with stripes on a daily basis.
You can also find more information, resources and tools on Giftedness in Mel POINAS‘ book. With a lot of humor, Mel tells the story of the discovery of her giftedness and the routines she put in place to finally find her place!
Écrit par une HPI !
Un témoignage et des solutions concrètes pour découvrir, comprendre et apprendre à vivre en étant HPI.
To go further, you can read
- In France, giftedness must remain an opportunity for precocious children
- Extracurricular activities and the zebra child
- I am gifted, I live it well and I have not failed at school.
- The best books about High Learning Potential
- Giftedness : 20 characteristics of complex and laminar profiles
- How to tell others we are gifted?
- Giftedness and Hypersensitivity