By Archana Jaiswal
You’ve probably heard of the term “gifted child.” It’s possible that behind every gifted child there is a gifted parent. It’s possible. It’s also possible that there may be gifted parents who don’t have gifted children. We rarely see or hear the term “gifted parent.” More likely, you’ve heard of “super moms” and “super dads.” These super parents are usually recognized for their ability to juggle life efficiently in multiple orbits including involvement in their children’s many extra-curricular activities, all at once. They should be applauded for their herculean feats. But these “super” moms and dads are not necessarily also gifted parents.
I am the eldest of three children and now I have three children of my own. Growing up in New York City, there were limited opportunities to join soccer, softball, or other team sports. I didn’t join the Girl Scouts or take any type of dance lessons. I never learned to swim, ride a bike, skateboard and for that matter barely learned to drive (I officially got my driver’s license as an adult after moving to Virginia). Looking back I was missing some of the elements of childhood engagement that I, and perhaps, many of you, obsess over now as a parent. Also, looking back, I had a most fulfilling and fun childhood without some of these wonderful activities thanks to both of my gifted parents who are now gifted grandparents.
What does it take to be a gifted parent? While a gifted parent may have been assessed a gifted child, there isn’t any qualifying performance test and benchmark score identifying a gifted parent. It is more an emotional aptitude, an uncommon parenting ability to find and bring out the best in their children, naturally, through unconditional love and support.
Gifted parenting isn’t just a state of mind, it’s a state of being. There is no “balancing act” of work with life (it’s an act, after all), rather there is a complementary flow of experiences:
1. Joy. Unconditional love and support come from a place of joy, lots of laughs, and a sense of humor. You can’t take life too seriously.
2. Contentment. Contentment goes hand in hand with joy. Contentment cannot be measured in assets and tangible goods. It is measured by taking the time to find joy in simplicity…play, food, music, nature, and life.
3. Patience. Contentment is found in making peace with time. Don’t be in such a hurry to attain, it all. It is important to have an appreciation for process and a mindfulness that time is precious.
4. Spontaneity. Spontaneity is the greatest appreciation of time. Live each moment as it is a gift. With spontaneity comes adventure and wonder.
5. Wonder. Wonder and curiosity unlock our amazing potential, individually and collectively.
6. Creativity. Wonder is the gateway to creativity. Take liberty to be individual. Be passionate! Be extraordinary!
7. Connectivity. Creativity is most celebrated when it is shared. What makes us unique, what are the questions we want answered and how can we personally solve problems for others and ourselves. We belong to a family, a team, a community, and a world.
8. Compassion. In belonging we find compassion. With compassion there is little room for entitlement and more so, a need for faith in others and ourselves.
9. Faith. Faith in others and ourselves moves everyone forward with purpose.
10. Purpose. In doing for others and ourselves we find purpose and in purpose we find fulfillment.
When my parents immigrated to New York City from New Delhi, India in the 1970’s, they wholeheartedly embraced the phrase “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” As they made a life for themselves and their family in their new home, they did far more than they could with the limited resources and knowledge they had access to. Their lives would have been easier if they had funseek back then. Whether it was excursions to the local crafts markets, or malls every weekend; going out to eat at new local restaurants, picnics at parks or the beach; visiting historic homes and great estates along the Hudson Valley in New York, the Henri Bendel store on Fifth Avenue in NYC, the Old Bethpage Village Restoration in Long Island, New York, to name a few favorites, museums or amusement parks, we were always onto fun, out exploring and embarking on adventures where we learned of and celebrated human ingenuity, impact and spirit.
Archana, ever grateful to her gifted parents, is the founder and CEO of funseek, an online go-to-source and promotional platform for local events and activities nationwide. She is always in pursuit of fun with her three children and husband!