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Old 11-19-2010, 10:40 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for some interesting thoughts, EdnaMarie.  It is useful for me to look at me and my dad as an issue of what values he imparted and not just about being gifted.  I suppose he could also have focused on athletic achievement, or beauty, or anything, but in his case, it was intellect = money.  I do not want to impart that to my children, and I do not think I am doing so.  Dh and I have chosen to work together in a family business we believe in when we both could make much more money elsewhere.  The things I would like to impart to my children:

 

-Consciously choose what is important to you, and once you do, be diligent at it.

-Take care of yourself.

-Be kind.

-Behave morally and ethically.

-Money is not the be-all, end-all, but a tool.

-Be thoughtful.

 

Hopefully none of these values will cause my kids angst.

 

So funny thing happened today - dh said my fancy private high school called and wants to do an article on me as an entrepreneur for the alumni newsletter.  Made me chuckle!  And my advisor at the SBDC was full of praise, including for one quality I had never thought to value: I work hard without complaining.  These things made me feel like I had indeed made good choices, despite a lack of paternal approval.


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Old 11-19-2010, 01:28 PM
 
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I'm sorry, loraxc, I really was referring to the talk being used in this discussion, not trying to extrapolate from that on to the person's view of their child in general.

 

I'm well aware that all of us here are fallible parents trying to love our kids as best as we can, and that we all have had different experiences.

 

However, I do maintain that discussing people as though they can achieve happiness by having one aspect of their personality supported better, is looking at those people in a very one-dimensional way.

 

Does that make sense?  And I do think the OP's dad did that to himself, and probably his kids, and that's the way that kids are being talked about here.  As if, if they have a problem in life, it's due to insufficient or improper treatment of their intellect.  I think this is unfair to these children.

 

 

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 How would you suggest dealing with these problems

 

But she's not talking about those problems.  Gifted kids can have problems that have nothing to do with their IQ or school.  They are so much more than their intellect.

 

She's talking about ANOTHER PROBLEM--the problem of happiness, of self-satisfaction, of self-esteem, of inner peace with her career and her educational choices.

 

This is NOT a problem of boredom.  If boredom is keeping you from being happy, it has nothing to do with being gifted.  It has to do with being a boring person that can't think of anything to do.  My mom used to tell us--"Get out of my kitchen.  You're not hungry, you're not bored, you're lazy.  Find something to do or I'll find it for you."  I love my mom.  That was the best lesson she ever taught us.  I think once she threatened to put us on a plane to East Germany, LOL!  "You think it's boring HERE?!?!?"  We were about three and five, respectively, when we understood that the one thing you never are, is bored.

 

My four-year-old has weighed everything in her playroom and arranged many of them in order of weight while I made bread (she eats the dough so she can't help).

 

Not challenged intellectually?  I'll buy that, if, say, you aren't allowed to bring books to school.  But bored?  Never!  (Says the person who got detention for reading under the desk, and was happy about it, because in detention you were supposed to read, LOL!)

 

And I think that bringing everything that a child faces back to his intellect is, again, a very one-sided approach to that individual.

 

Quote:
is this another "The child should magically stop being different and bored by focusing on how to help others" thing?

 

1.  Only boring people get bored.  NO--really.  It's called, writing sonnets in your head and writing them in a notebook in between classes.  Solving puzzles in your backpack.  Memorizing logic puzzles and doing them in your head.  No magic, just motivation that comes from within, not without.  But they don't get credit for that?  Who cares about credit?  I'm  not saying, don't give them a better education.  BUT--sometimes you really cannot, and moreover, even if that solves the boredom question temporarily, it will just pop up later.  Learning to be self-reliant and enthusiastic is a far more versatile skill.

 

2.  I think you have a very narrow definition of "help others".  I'm talking about an entire view of one's self as a part of a greater whole, the true capacity to have empathy for others and a genuine understanding of what it means to love and be loved and what that means in life.

 

Besides... thinking of others actually is a magical cure for boredom.  It even works for really smart people, amazingly.  It really does make you happy, which brings me to what I really wanted to respond to, which was EVC's video... awesome.  But really, we knew that.  Have you ever met the Missionaries of Charity?  Such happy people!

 

I do not think special education will make disabled or gifted kids happy, period.  Comfortable, yes, but happy, no.

 

Galatea, love the values you chose.  None of them sound particularly angst-inducing, but you never know what one or another kid will latch on to.  I guess we all have our issues with the way we were raised, though some of us more rightly than others!


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Old 11-20-2010, 06:27 AM
 
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Originally Posted by EdnaMarie View Post

1.  Only boring people get bored.  NO--really.  It's called, writing sonnets in your head and writing them in a notebook in between classes.  Solving puzzles in your backpack.  Memorizing logic puzzles and doing them in your head.  No magic, just motivation that comes from within, not without.  But they don't get credit for that?  Who cares about credit?  I'm  not saying, don't give them a better education.  BUT--sometimes you really cannot, and moreover, even if that solves the boredom question temporarily, it will just pop up later.  Learning to be self-reliant and enthusiastic is a far more versatile skill.

 

 *nod*.  Once I learned a dance, I would do it a million times over in my head, imagining it was me, or the older girls in my school, or a professional ballerina - adding staging, audience, etc.  I'd sing music in my head, all the voice parts, and then imagine the concert.  I'd think about different ways to get from the bus stop to my house, or different ways to get from my house to my friend's house.  I'd think about how my mom cooks food for dinner, and imagine how I was going to cook when I had my own place.  My God, give me any topic and I could think about it and imagine it in my head.  I was always able to occupy my brain; perhaps not "challenge" it by giving it new information, but occupy it nonetheless AND be entertained at the same time.   I *still* do this when I need to relax or kind of check out a bit - I can dance the entire second half of the Nutcracker ballet in my head whenever I want, or sing various songs I've done in choir in my head and it NEVER stops being entertaining/engaging for me, and I'm 37 now.

 

Honestly, the love of learning (not the actual challenge level of the instruction) and being able to entertain oneself are two of the more important things I want to pass on to my kids.  It's why I teach them old timey pencil and paper games (that can then be transferred off paper into the old noodle), why we sing a LOT, and why I talk a lot about the different things I'm thinking about thorughout the day, so they "get it".  School, to me, is just one small part of the education they're going to get, and is not required to keep them constantly intellectually stimulated all the time, lest they start acting out and getting in trouble.

 

As pointed out to me by a delightful friend, I was perhaps rather calm and compliant by nature as a kid, and not all kids are....like, um, my own very energetic, authority challenging kids.  So perhaps it's not as easy as "just turn internally and occupy your brain" especially, as she pointed out, many things some kids do to stay un-bored wouldn't be allwoed in a classroom setting.


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Old 11-20-2010, 09:26 AM
 
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That is a good point and I think I was posting at the same time as I was about my husband and therefore I was unnecessarily agitated and I am sorry about that.

 

It's true, some coping mechanisms can't be used at most schools.  And if a child's coping mechanisms and learning style aren't suited to a school environment, by all means, find a different school or homeschool or un-school or whatever.  I am not opposed to that.  I don't think there's any point in forcing people to sit there for no reason.

 

It does not change the fact that happiness does not come from having one's needs and wants accommodated, though.  So while I fully support making a child comfortable and school challenging and enjoyable, I do not think this leads to happiness.

 

I'm not compliant by nature, but school was different when I was a child.


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Old 11-20-2010, 09:32 AM
 
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I guess I'm a boring person, then. ;) I'm never bored when I have the freedom to choose what to do, but when I have been stuck in a classroom (or meeting!) where I was required to appear to be paying attention, looking straight ahead, etc., tuned in to the whole boring thing (in meetings at a small table, you often can't write unrelated things down) yes, I have been bored. Bored silly. It's my personality. I like to be doing a lot of things at once and to have a lot going on at one time. I can't stand just sitting still and waiting, or sitting still and having to listen to something that moves way too slowly.

 

I don't think every person can just entertain themselves inside their head while remaining still and quiet, and especially not every young child.


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Old 11-20-2010, 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by EdnaMarie View Post

I have disdain for the notion that having a talent is having a huge burden.

 If I had a kid who was seven foot tall I wouldn't consider it a burden. I would however consider it vital information to have when picking out clothes and furniture.


Good point. 


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Old 11-20-2010, 12:14 PM
 
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I don't think every person can just entertain themselves inside their head while remaining still and quiet, and especially not every young child.

 

Well, this comes back to whether this is a thread about how to educate a gifted child, or how to inculcate a sense of self-worth in a child.  I think those are quite different things.

 

There are VERY few young children that can remain still and quiet and I don't approve of education for anyone under seven or eight that asks young children to sit still for long periods of time.  I think it's totally inappropriate.  Yes, I realize that is the public school system and I don't think that system is working for pretty much anybody in some areas, but it's not only gifted children that get bored in that environment.

 

EVERYBODY is bored in meetings.  Stupid people, average people, smart people.  You don't need gifted education to deal with that, and even if you HAVE gifted education, eventually, you will need to learn the skill of looking interested when you are not... or how to wait tables, because there are few jobs that are continually stimulating most of the time.

 

I just don't see how gifted education could solve any of these problems.  Best case scenario, compared to another kind of education that was equally age-appropriate and had a similar child-adult ratio, it will help you learn more skills and attain more knowledge, in a shorter amount of time, so as to afford you the maximum number of possible futures to choose from, since the more skills and knowledge you have, the more jobs you are able to choose from.

 

It's not going to make you a better person.


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Old 11-20-2010, 12:17 PM
 
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However, I do maintain that discussing people as though they can achieve happiness by having one aspect of their personality supported better, is looking at those people in a very one-dimensional way.

 

Does that make sense?  And I do think the OP's dad did that to himself, and probably his kids, and that's the way that kids are being talked about here.  As if, if they have a problem in life, it's due to insufficient or improper treatment of their intellect.  I think this is unfair to these children.

 

 

 

I'm figuring that people who post here are posting about other issues elsewhere or just dealing with it IRL.  That they are seeing their child as a multi-faceted individual and that some aspects of that individual are related to being gifted.  Talking about what you place importance on as a parent, and how that is interpreted by a child, is a key parenting issue.  My read of the OP is that she's trying to navigate that. I'm assuming that all parents deal with things like what messages and expectations do I want to pass on to my child - like financial management (spend or save), kindness and giving (rigorous individualism or communal living) etc etc.  I thought the OP was navigating the communication of values related to intellect, "potential" and achievement.

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This is NOT a problem of boredom.  If boredom is keeping you from being happy, it has nothing to do with being gifted.  It has to do with being a boring person that can't think of anything to do.  My mom used to tell us--"Get out of my kitchen.  You're not hungry, you're not bored, you're lazy.  Find something to do or I'll find it for you."  I love my mom.  That was the best lesson she ever taught us.  I think once she threatened to put us on a plane to East Germany, LOL!  "You think it's boring HERE?!?!?"  We were about three and five, respectively, when we understood that the one thing you never are, is bored.

 

My four-year-old has weighed everything in her playroom and arranged many of them in order of weight while I made bread (she eats the dough so she can't help).

 

Not challenged intellectually?  I'll buy that, if, say, you aren't allowed to bring books to school.  But bored?  Never!  (Says the person who got detention for reading under the desk, and was happy about it, because in detention you were supposed to read, LOL!)

 

And I think that bringing everything that a child faces back to his intellect is, again, a very one-sided approach to that individual.

 

Quote:
is this another "The child should magically stop being different and bored by focusing on how to help others" thing?

 

1.  Only boring people get bored.  NO--really.  It's called, writing sonnets in your head and writing them in a notebook in between classes.  Solving puzzles in your backpack.  Memorizing logic puzzles and doing them in your head.  No magic, just motivation that comes from within, not without.  But they don't get credit for that?  Who cares about credit?  I'm  not saying, don't give them a better education.  BUT--sometimes you really cannot, and moreover, even if that solves the boredom question temporarily, it will just pop up later.  Learning to be self-reliant and enthusiastic is a far more versatile skill.

 

2.  I think you have a very narrow definition of "help others".  I'm talking about an entire view of one's self as a part of a greater whole, the true capacity to have empathy for others and a genuine understanding of what it means to love and be loved and what that means in life.

 

Besides... thinking of others actually is a magical cure for boredom.  It even works for really smart people, amazingly.  It really does make you happy, which brings me to what I really wanted to respond to, which was EVC's video... awesome.  But really, we knew that.  Have you ever met the Missionaries of Charity?  Such happy people!

 

I do not think special education will make disabled or gifted kids happy, period.  Comfortable, yes, but happy, no.

 

 

Expecting a child to read through days, weeks and months of school is just boggling to me.  In grade 4, DD was going through 200 page YA fiction books A DAY in school.  This was a tremendously poor use of her time.  And tremendously anti-intellectual. 

 

Are these assertions based on your experience alone? 

 

I'm going to challenge this:  DD is community and other-oriented - she fulfills a number of service roles in school requiring that she volunteer a lot of time,  and elects to ask for donations in lieu of birthday gifts.  She did occupy herself at school by reading, writing, composing stuff in her head (music, poetry).  Her intellectual needs were not being met and she was basically at a point of despair, so I'm thinking this was a gifted issue.  She's now in a better academic placement, and the last one was an award-winning alternate program, but we're still struggling with the residual effects of years of not having her needs even nearly met. 

 

Are you familiar with the notion of zone of proximal development?  IMO, every child is entitled to spend the vast majority of their time in school somewhere in their zone of proximal development.  We would see it as patently unfair to ask a child capable of grade 1 work to complete grade 5 work - why is the inverse not also true?  And so long as this is happening, it is a gifted issue.  Expecting a sub-set of kids to meet their own needs independently is patently unjust.


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Old 11-20-2010, 12:26 PM
 
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Well, this comes back to whether this is a thread about how to educate a gifted child, or how to inculcate a sense of self-worth in a child.  I think those are quite different things.

 

 

You don't see the link between these things in the OP?  OP's dad's value math was success = worth, and success was defined as school and career-based achievement in a narrow range of fields.  OP internalized his expressions of disatisfaction.  OP found success (here defined as engagement/personal fulfillment) where she found meaning, so matching the education to the kid would seem to increase success - whichever definition of success you're using.

 

I'm pretty successful at managing through boring meetings, and I learned this as an adult.  I'm glad I didn't have to put in 13 years of prepatory schooling to acquire this "skill" when maturity allowed me to learn it pretty quickly.


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Old 11-20-2010, 12:45 PM
 
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OP found success (here defined as engagement/personal fulfillment) where she found meaning, so matching the education to the kid would seem to increase success - whichever definition of success you're using.

 

I think I meant "education" here in a more narrow sense, the sense loraxc was using it, as in schooling or un-schooling or whatever.  I completely agree that raising a child, of whatever abilities, is going to have a massive effect on the child's happiness, and in the broader sense of education, that is what we are doing.

 

I was referring to "gifted education" per se, which is a much more intellectual pursuit, i.e. almost what the OP's dad was solely focused on (as a means to wealth and success, rather than intellectual growth in and of itself, though I would expect that, too, would eventually ring hollow, since it dies with you).

 

 

Quote:
Expecting a child to read through days, weeks and months of school is just boggling to me.  In grade 4, DD was going through 200 page YA fiction books A DAY in school.  This was a tremendously poor use of her time.  And tremendously anti-intellectual.

 

Shoulda been reading the IQ test book, Remarque and Turgenev.  ;~)  It reads a bit slower.

 

Seriously though... I'm not complaining about choosing to put your child in a challenging environment.  I certainly would if that were my kid, and I asked my mom to put me in different schools, which she could not for many reasons.

 

BUT I'M HAPPY ANYWAY.

 

I'm saying, that can forestall boredom temporarily but it's not an answer to happiness.

 

Not sure why that is not getting across.

 

Comfort =/= happiness.

Fun =/= happiness.

Wealth =/= happiness.

Knowledge =/= happiness.

Challenging environment =/= happiness.

 

At most, any of these things is pleasurable, but...

 

Pleasure =/= happiness.

 

Happiness and a sense of self-worth are not related to the amount of comfort and pleasure we experience in life.  On the contrary... I'd say they are more likely inversely related.


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Old 11-20-2010, 01:46 PM
 
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Happiness and a sense of self-worth are not related to the amount of comfort and pleasure we experience in life.  On the contrary... I'd say they are more likely inversely related.


So is your plan to make your children's lives as uncomfortable and unpleasant as possible so that they can be happy and have self worth?

 

me not following.


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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Old 11-20-2010, 02:05 PM
 
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Quote:
OP found success (here defined as engagement/personal fulfillment) where she found meaning, so matching the education to the kid would seem to increase success - whichever definition of success you're using.

 

I think I meant "education" here in a more narrow sense, the sense loraxc was using it, as in schooling or un-schooling or whatever.  I completely agree that raising a child, of whatever abilities, is going to have a massive effect on the child's happiness, and in the broader sense of education, that is what we are doing.

 

I was referring to "gifted education" per se, which is a much more intellectual pursuit, i.e. almost what the OP's dad was solely focused on (as a means to wealth and success, rather than intellectual growth in and of itself, though I would expect that, too, would eventually ring hollow, since it dies with you).

 

 

Quote:
Expecting a child to read through days, weeks and months of school is just boggling to me.  In grade 4, DD was going through 200 page YA fiction books A DAY in school.  This was a tremendously poor use of her time.  And tremendously anti-intellectual.

 

Shoulda been reading the IQ test book, Remarque and Turgenev.  ;~)  It reads a bit slower.

 

Seriously though... I'm not complaining about choosing to put your child in a challenging environment.  I certainly would if that were my kid, and I asked my mom to put me in different schools, which she could not for many reasons.

 

BUT I'M HAPPY ANYWAY.

 

I'm saying, that can forestall boredom temporarily but it's not an answer to happiness.

 

Not sure why that is not getting across.

 

Comfort =/= happiness.

Fun =/= happiness.

Wealth =/= happiness.

Knowledge =/= happiness.

Challenging environment =/= happiness.

 

At most, any of these things is pleasurable, but...

 

Pleasure =/= happiness.

 

Happiness and a sense of self-worth are not related to the amount of comfort and pleasure we experience in life.  On the contrary... I'd say they are more likely inversely related.


 

I'm not looking for my child to experience comfort and pleasure at school.  I want her to experience challenge and meaning. 

 

IMO, "happiness" is having a purpose in life that has meaning for the individual - it might be raising children, connected family life, curing a disease, driving a bus that gets people to and from places safely, creating art, community service, physics... whatever.  The individual defines what that purpose and meaning is, and they shouldn't be robbed of the ability or opportunity to do so by messed up parental pressure or an engagement- and passion-destroying stint in meaningless classtime.

 

I haven't seen anyone here claiming that their little precious should never have to deal with less than ideal circumstances - in fact, many here are trying to find meaningful challenge for their children so that they develop the skills to manage through times when the going gets tough.  I'll go back to that notion of zone of proximal development, and expand it to include parental expections should reflect what's within the realm of possiblity for their child, whether related to a child's ability, interest, personality or opportunity.


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Old 11-20-2010, 02:55 PM
 
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Okay.

 

Is this really the first place that any of you have ever heard it suggested that happiness is not related to material comfort provided to ease one or another specific difficulty faced?

 

I really don't get how this is such a revolutionary idea.  I'm flabbergasted, actually.  The vast majority of adults I know consider their education and specific childhood experiences to be only somewhat related to their happiness as adults, with the exception of those who were seriously abused.

 

Torture =/= happiness, either.  That should be obvious.  :~(

 

Gifted education =/= happiness

regular education =/= happiness

 

I leave you with a fascinating book by Bertrand Russell: The Conquest of Happiness.  He invented symbolic logic with Wittgenstein and he went to English public schools and was forced to take cold dirty baths as a young child, when he was separated from his parents, so take it with a grain of salt. ;~) 

 

http://www.amazon.com/Conquest-Happiness-Bertrand-Russell/dp/0871401622/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1290289571&sr=8-1

 

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So is your plan to make your children's lives as uncomfortable and unpleasant as possible so that they can be happy and have self worth?

 

me not following.

 

 

Quote:
Talking about what you place importance on as a parent, and how that is interpreted by a child, is a key parenting issue.  My read of the OP is that she's trying to navigate that. I'm assuming that all parents deal with things like what messages and expectations do I want to pass on to my child - like financial management (spend or save), kindness and giving (rigorous individualism or communal living) etc etc.  I thought the OP was navigating the communication of values related to intellect, "potential" and achievement.

 

I completely agree with this.  This is what I'm trying to say.  And I'm responding to continued posts about gifted education, and the suggestion that I don't believe in gifted education which is just NOT what I'm talking about.

 

 

Quote:
I haven't seen anyone here claiming that their little precious should never have to deal with less than ideal circumstances

 

No, and I certainly am not suggesting that.

 

I am suggesting that providing comfort for any particular problem, or set of problems, is not going to solve the problem of happiness or self-worth.

 

I'm not sure what you think my point is?  I feel I'm repeating myself again and again and people are just hearing what they want to hear, that I disagree with them in some general way and with gifted education in particular, when in reality I'm talking about a much more positive thesis.

 

So let me say it simply.

 

Self-worth and happiness come from looking out, not looking in.

 

Everything else is a far second to that, in terms of guiding a person towards a satisfying life.

 

That's ALL I'm saying.

 


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Old 11-20-2010, 06:47 PM
 
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Self-worth and happiness come from looking out, not looking in.

 

Everything else is a far second to that, in terms of guiding a person towards a satisfying life.

 

Self-worth, by definition, comes from the evaluation and conclusion on the relative worthiness of one's self, by the self. One's relative worthiness is determined by one's values, not by the assessment of others, and so, requires looking in, not out. Looking to others for one's self-worth is very unhealthy. Assessing one's self worth according to how much one gives (in sacrifice of one's self) for the sake of others, is absurd.

 

If I am correct, you are asserting throughout your posts that in order to be happy/fulfilled, one must value the lives, happiness, and well-being of others above that of oneself.

 

I wonder how you reconcile that conclusion with the OP's upbringing. In your view, would she be happy if, given the assumption that her father was not abusive, but rather just very certain of what he wanted for himself and children (presumably just like you, but with different values), she acted out of a self-sacrificial motivation to give to her loving father what he wanted over and above her own selfish desires to do with her life what makes her happy? Would you answer, "Of course not!"?

 

In your view, is she less bound to look to her father than to other "others"?

 

Should she occupy herself with doing what makes others happy foremost, and then (dutifully) take pleasure from doing so? I would argue that this would be a sort of hedonism, actually, and then not outward looking either. Or should she aim to do what brings others well-being, without any self-satisfaction, or moreso, should she be willing to suffer for the sake of others because that would make her even happier?

 

Is it a matter of lottery whether she happens to personally enjoy what also requires her to be "others-centered"? What if she desires to occupy herself doing what personally enhances her own sense of life? What if a person finds a way to live that is actually completely for the sake of her own life and enjoyment, according to rationally determined values (so, not hedonism, but deliberate, objectively chosen values that enhance one's own life as primary, above that of others)? Is it not possible for her to be happy living her life for herself?

 

You wrote about a satisfying life: satisfying to whom?

 

How are self-sacrifice and suffering conducive to happiness? That they may require looking to others just begs the question. If you are willing, please work this out logically so I can see your process, because right now, according to your posts, the choice to sacrifice oneself, to look to others for one's self-worth and self-esteem, seems rather tied to whims and not reality. How do you determine the worth of an other's life, without holding your own as the standard by which to assess the lives of others? Are all lives of equal value to you, and if so, are all living beings entitled to whatever you may possess/could offer? If not, how do know that? What standard do you employ in the determination of the value of the lives of others, and secondarily the value of their well-being to yours?

 

I'm writing in consideration of all of your posts so far, so not just the above quotation.


Well, I've been absent for 8 months, and during that time, it turns out that I have completely transformed. You are all precious. Thank you for being here and sharing your lives. You are truly a gift. namaste.gif Jan. 23, 2012

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Old 11-21-2010, 12:35 PM
 
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Self-worth, by definition, comes from the evaluation and conclusion on the relative worthiness of one's self, by the self. One's relative worthiness is determined by one's values, not by the assessment of others, and so, requires looking in, not out. Looking to others for one's self-worth is very unhealthy. Assessing one's self worth according to how much one gives (in sacrifice of one's self) for the sake of others, is absurd.

 

 

No.  You totally missed the point, to be honest.  Who would say that, even?

 

I'm not talking about asking others what I'm worth.

 

I'm talking about valuing others and not thinking of the self, giving up, to some extent, on introspection, period.

 

I dunno... I'm thinking zen, one with the Cosmos, universal love, brotherhood of man, "It's not about YOU", and all that.  Perhaps Rumi said it best:

 

 

Quote:

FINE FEATHERS

 

"Needs must I tear them out," the peacock cried,

"These gorgeous plumes which only tempt my pride."

 

Of all his talents let the fool beware:

Mad for the bait, he never sees the snare.

Harness to fear of God thy strength and skill,

Else there's no bane so deadly as free-will.

 

God, Cosmos, Love, the Universe, the Greater Good, whatevs.


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Self-worth and happiness come from looking out, not looking in.

 

Everything else is a far second to that, in terms of guiding a person towards a satisfying life.

 

That's ALL I'm saying.

 



You seem to think this is really incontrovertible and obvious to any reasonable person. And yet, I'm still not clear on what you mean by "looking out" or "serving others." Can you give me an example of a noncriminal life path that would NOT serve others?  Is anything that makes me happy and fulfilled considered okay, or not? What if nothing I create or do is ever seen by another human being? Do I have to be harming other people to be breaking this others-first commandment?

 

Are we basically just talking about disliking unhappy people who whine a lot, or what?

 

Also, I'm surprised that the vast majority of people you know think their childhoods are essentially irrelevant to their adult lives. I know very few people who would say that. In fact, I would say this is not a very AP sentiment. Not that I am an AP enforcer (hardly). But if anything is fine (short of abuse) since childhood is not relevant anyway, then what the heck is all this considered, compassionate, attached parenting all about? I recall from other threads that you're pretty concerned with parenting kindly and thoughtfully and respectfully. No, no, I don't think AP guarantees happy adults. But I do think we do it because we think it contributes.


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EdnaMarie,

 

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I'm talking about valuing others and not thinking of the self, giving up, to some extent, on introspection, period.

 

Okay, let's work with this then.

 

I'll try to construct what I was hoping you'd be willing to work out in writing. Feel free to make corrections to it as you see fit, but please, try to remain logical.

 

 

Order of importance of value: that which the self works to retain

 

1) "God, Cosmos, Love, the Universe, the Greater Good, whatevs."

2) Others' well-being, happiness, survival

3) Self's well-being, happiness, survival

 

Now, how does the third item on the list determine the worth of the first two? What standard is used? How does the least important item determine the relative importance of the items above it? Logically? Consider the following analogous hierarchy:

 

1) Farmer/Husband/Proprietor

2) Chickens' well-being, happiness, survival

3) Grubs' well-being, happiness, survival

 

Bringing this into a real-life, observable, situation, please explain how the grub is capable of valuing the chickens or the farmer at all, let alone above itself. This is not just a matter of intellect, but of the reality that the grub simply cannot ascribe any value to anything if it doesn't give primary value to it's own life. If the grub does not work to keep its own life primarily, it cannot work to keep  the chickens or the farmer. It just cannot- even if it were intellectually capable of rationalizing a popular sentimentality that requires it to pretend that it could.

 

My point is that you are able to value others because you value yourself. If you did nothing to keep yourself alive, as a base example, you could not work to keep your children alive, or even be able to decide that God or the Universe matter at all. My point is a basic one: in order to value anything, one must be the standard by which all other things are valued. My life is the standard. It is primary. If I die, I do not value (work to keep) anything. And this reality works all the way from the basest survival to the epitome of human achievement.

 

Valuing my life preeminently, I then value my own happiness, and then act to keep myself happy (as well as I am able, given that I do make mistakes, lack foresight, forget, etc...), which for me, means mothering in a way that I respect and enjoy- gently, conscientiously- and that doing so provides the conditions for the happiness of those people I value (work to keep in my life because they bring me so much joy-- never out of duty or requirement, but out of true enjoyment and love- sharing of values and resultant affection). I am happiest when my children, whom I value immensely, are happy; it brings me great joy! This does not require sacrifice of any sort. It never requires me looking to them to first, and yet, we're all happy. 

 

Essentially, I am living my life firstly for myself, and this does make me happy! It ALSO provides the conditions in which those who associate with me can be happy, too! I have challenges in my life, like anyone else, but my constant "if I value ___________, then I will __________" proposition brings me the most success in living joyfully. And I'm not even pretending to be happy; I actually am (overall and most of the time). It's when I become unhappy, that I am alerted to something being incongruent with my values, and I work to regain the thing that has been compromised (my value).

 

There is no unknown element here, no mysterious actor that has to be given place. I can and do determine my values by what is actually available to me in reality- concretely. I do not value what I cannot value (work to keep). It is not complicated.

 

It seems from your response to my questions that you have not really worked this through, but rather rely on what you think or feel in the moment you feel compelled to act, or on principles without personal foundation. It seems that way to me. I am not interested at all in condemning you or your choices; I hope to encourage you to do the very hard work of working through your beliefs as expressed in this thread to see if they really do line up with reality, or if you have adopted the suggested list of values of someone else, who may not really be as interested in your well-being as I think you and anyone else in your position should be.

 

Perhaps you are not willing or interested in doing this work for yourself. Maybe not yet, and maybe not ever, but if you did it, you would discover some pretty awesome things right here in this world that right now are invisible to you. You cannot value others above yourself. The old and wise proverb holds true: if mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy. If you do not seek your own happiness and well-being first, you cheat the people you love out of you in your best condition. On a plane, you put on your O2 mask even before you put them on your children- even your infants! There is a greater reality in this than anything; you must be rationally selfish in order to truly give anything to anyone else. If you pass out, your babies die too, so looking to them first means you and they die. You have utterly failed to do what even your basest inclinations are- first to your survival, then to that of your off-spring. If you seek your own well-being first, you can not only assure the survival of your babies, but provide the conditions for them that they need to also be happy.

 

To further belabour the point, if you saw an unknown child drowning in a river, given that you are a mother, given that you cannot be reasonably assured of your own survival in the rushing water, and given that you are not a rescue-worker willingly committed to acting in this situation, would you sacrifice your own life and consequently the mother of your children, to try to save this unknown life? I would not. I would be very sad for that child and his family, but I would not sacrifice myself and consequently the well-being of the people in my life that I work to keep- my children and partner. This may an unpopular conclusion; this is of no concern to me. 

 

I can trace every value I hold. I can answer for every one, logically, objectively even. That is, I can demonstrate why each value is objectively good, not good because I like it or think it is my duty to consider it so. I choose my values, and the choice itself is subjective, but the values are objective, rational, and traced back to the standard by which I determine them. My thoughts and actions accord with my values (except when I mess up, of course, but then I work to repair and regain what I hopefully only temporarily lost). When someone else chooses one's values, one's actions are compelled by duty, and the beneficiary is a tyrant- intentionally or not. I choose my own values, then act freely to keep the objects of those values.

 

Additionally, I wholeheartedly object to the theme and conclusion of the verse you quoted. If you choose to embrace it, you are no better off than I am, given its "moral". Your being constrained, obligated, and dutifully required to embrace it is the only way to fulfill its moral "good". And that is not the life for me, but here we have the root of our disagreement: a fundamental, underlying belief. How have you tested the veracity of this claim to [eta: objective] morality, as illustrated in the verse you quoted?

 

 

 


Well, I've been absent for 8 months, and during that time, it turns out that I have completely transformed. You are all precious. Thank you for being here and sharing your lives. You are truly a gift. namaste.gif Jan. 23, 2012

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Old 11-22-2010, 01:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow.  This thread has really gone on and on.

 

As I read everyone's interesting thoughts, I find myself agreeing with EdnaMarie.  I don't know if this is what she means, but what I took from her is that I cannot guarantee my child's happiness by what schooling I find for him, b/c to reduce his happiness to his education is to do another version of what my father did with me - reduce my happiness to material success via intellect.  His happiness, just like my happiness, will come from him learning about himself and the world and sculpting his own values accordingly.  What I can do for him, and what my father did not do for me, is to try to teach him about non-material values and get my own ego and issues out of the way.

 

As for one's childhood's effect on life happiness, I have a pretty hard-line view of this, having been sculpted myself by 12-step programs.  I think that I have the ability, right and obligation to create my own happiness, and once I figured that out, I stopped being mad about events in my childhood, and decided to move forward the best I could.  I did have to grieve those events, but I also had a choice to move forward.  Things might have been done better, but I wouldn't change any of them.

 

As for helping others, I do not think EdnaMarie advocates self-sacrifice - I don't - it never works.  I think when you figure out your own value system and what gets your juices flowing, you naturally stop obsessing about yourself.  This makes things naturally turn outward - and not born of self-annihilating sacrifice, but more like childbirth - I can grow a baby without giving up parts of myself, b/c I am also feeding myself by living in the world according to my values.


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Old 11-22-2010, 02:35 PM
 
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Can you give me an example of a noncriminal life path that would NOT serve others?

 

There certainly aren't many.  Maybe something that ought to be criminal (usury) but that in fact is legal?

 

 

Quote:
Also, I'm surprised that the vast majority of people you know think their childhoods are essentially irrelevant to their adult lives.

 

No.

 

Not irrelevant.

 

It's just that the bad things didn't make them unhappy (again, barring, of course! cases of real abuse, neglect, etc.).

 

 

Quote:
But if anything is fine (short of abuse) since childhood is not relevant anyway, then what the heck is all this considered, compassionate, attached parenting all about?...
 
No, no, I don't think AP guarantees happy adults. But I do think we do it because we think it contributes.

 


Um.  Because we are supposed to be kind to one another and that's what our children need from us?  Because we love them and and treat them with compassion and kindness because that's the right thing to do.  Because that's how people, especially little people, need to be treated?

 

I did not say childhood isn't relevant.  I said... what happens to you in childhood (again, barring extreme circumstances, naturally) is not going to make you happy or unhappy.

 

I think this is clear.  There have been many scientific studies on how happy people claim to feel, and all of them come to the same conclusion: once your basic needs are met, material input really has remarkably little to do with life satisfaction or happiness.  Being part of a community and loving others has so much more to do with it, so much so that it even overcomes poverty and extreme poverty.

 

I'm afraid this is just something we'll have to agree to disagree on.  I do not think we are speaking from common ground *at all* here--in particular since you stated your commitment to attachment parenting as based not on a basic respect for human life, but some kind of, I don't know, results-based parenting framework?  I don't know.  I didn't come to AP or GD from the idea that I wanted to make a good person.  I came to it from the idea that I wanted to BE a good person, to be kind, and yet, recognizing my own fallibility, felt I might need some crutches here and there.  Okay.  I wanted a miracle, LOL!  But not a miracle on my baby.  A miracle on *me*.

 

Quote:
You seem to think this is really incontrovertible and obvious to any reasonable person. And yet, I'm still not clear on what you mean by "looking out" or "serving others.

 

I wouldn't say reasonable person.  I would say, person with a reasonable foundation in Judeo-Christo-Islamic tradition, philanthropy, and/or classical ethics, would know what general ethic I'm referring to.  Though, I find again and again that I apparently live in a happy bubble where people save parking spaces and do all kinds of things that are just not done in other places.

 

If you are interested in this philosophy or tradition, and are not already familiar, I would start with Rumi, Russell (as per previous reference, not his logic stuff LOL), Mother Theresa, Simone Weil, and gosh... Dostoyevsky?  Dostoyevsky is actually great on this point from the other way 'round.  He has the portrait of self-serving down to one of the greatest art forms of the last millenium, in my opinion.  Crime and Punishment, this whole book is about this very idea (among others, heh).  From outside the western canon, "A Fine Balance" is a wonderful book that elucidates some of this... relationships between people, hope, all that... Certainly what I'm saying agrees with taoism from what I understand, though I come to taoism as an outsider.

 

It is very much inherited from the Judeo-Christo-Islamic tradition in my case, but definitely if you look into Buddhism and Hinduism it is there.  Humanism has its own tradition of philanthropy and in all of them the basic premise is the same.  Give up the self to be truly happy.

 

Though, I suspect that you are already familiar with this, and simply are conflating what I'm saying about general lifelong happiness, with what I believe about providing material support to a child in the short-term, and that is why it's not making sense to you.  I think it's okay to suffer a bit.  I do NOT think it's okay to impose suffering on people, ever!  But sh*t happens, right?  We as parents have to prioritize.  And I'm saying, given that sh*t happens, we should balance the amount of effort we put into providing material comfort and support (academic challenges being a kind of support and comfort in the long-run, to my mind), and the amount of effort we put into helping our child cope with the inevitable disappointments in life, to be happy regardless of how things turn out.

 

Quote:
Bringing this into a real-life, observable, situation, please explain how the grub is capable of valuing the chickens or the farmer at all, let alone above itself.

 

What do grub have to do with this?  The grub probably aren't thinking of themselves, anyway.  They just *are*, like the cow in Hinduism.  I'm not talking about ethics for every sentient being in the universe.  I'm talking about people.  With people, it's a struggle to even get to that point of just being... but I don't want you to think I'm talking about becoming a grub here.  Gifted children aren't grub.

 

 

Quote:
It seems from your response to my questions that you have not really worked this through, but rather rely on what you think or feel in the moment you feel compelled to act, or on principles without personal foundation...
 
Perhaps you are not willing or interested in doing this work for yourself. Maybe not yet, and maybe not ever, but if you did it, you would discover some pretty awesome things right here in this world that right now are invisible to you. You cannot value others above yourself.

 

LOL!  I disagree with you, therefore, I must not know what I'm talking about?

 

I don't think it would be appropriate to put out there what I, personally, know about personal sacrifice or valuing others.  I think it's amazingly presumptuous of you to think I don't constantly deal with ethical battles in my own life, like everyone else out there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

And while I agree with your practical advice of "putting on your own oxygen mask first", I would remind you that in that scenario, it actually takes a lot of enforcement, because most mothers instinctively go for their kids first.  They value their kids above themselves.  *Only by convincing the mothers that their children are in greater danger if she tries to aid them first, can flight staff effectively get the mothers to put on their own masks first.*

 

There's a reason they say it.  Countless have probably died and suffered because they tried to save their babies first.

 

Evolutionarily speaking, of course, that's kind of like saving the self.  Fortunately we have thousands upon thousands of examples of selfless sacrifice of individuals who live by this mantra, who died for the sake of Jews whom they didn't know, who stood up to dictators the world over, throughout history, who told the truth at great personal risk, who put others first.  Firemen who rushed back into the burning building... and even strangers.  You can even watch them on YouTube.

 

And I'm not sure how I could convince you, myself, that I really believe in this, because... well... LOL, if I had actually acted on the extreme versions of selflessness you are proposing...

 

I'd be dead, wouldn't I?

 

 

Quote:
If you choose to embrace it, you are no better off than I am, given its "moral".

 

Why "moral" in quotes?  Because you disagree?  It is a moral nonetheless.

 

I don't see why I should be better off than you... or vice-versa... ?

 

Quote:
When someone else chooses one's values, one's actions are compelled by duty, and the beneficiary is a tyrant- intentionally or not.

 

No.

 

You are getting confused here.

 

"choosing to value others" =/= "others choosing values".

 

They're not even close.  In the first, the subject is (unspoken here) "I", in the second, it's "others".  In the first, the object is "others", in the second, it's "values".

 

I'm talking about the former, not the latter.

 

I simply do not think that duty is tyranny.

 

Tyranny involves physically compelling someone to do something against their free will.

 

Fulfillment of duties can be done out of compulsion, or out of love.  I'm not suggesting anyone be kind and think of others or the others will beat the bejeezus out of them.  I'm suggesting that we love one another.

 

(Okay, I didn't make that last one up, I think it sneaked into my head over many nights at Bible studies and discussions with Peace Corps volunteers, pinko-commies that they are... :lol .)

 


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Old 11-22-2010, 02:51 PM
 
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Oh, and OP...

 

Sorry.  :sheepish grin:

 

I do think your original post was very relevant to the experience of the gifted child in many ways but we've kind of gotten beyond that so in the interest of stopping the hijacking, I'm just going to start a spin-off thread.

 

I hope it's going well with your family!


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Originally Posted by Galatea View Post


As I read everyone's interesting thoughts, I find myself agreeing with EdnaMarie.  I don't know if this is what she means, but what I took from her is that I cannot guarantee my child's happiness by what schooling I find for him



For the record, I completely agree with this particular statement. I don't think I can guarantee my children's happiness through providing (what seems to me to be) the right school for them, either. I think the right school COULD help, perhaps a lot, just as the wrong school could hurt, perhaps a lot. But I think there is much, much more to it than that. And I actually think that a lot of it is rather random, in the end, and also, that a lot of what shapes children is beyond our control as parents. I just do what I can--but you know, kids are in school 6 hours a day, so it does make sense to look at whether that environment is working for them, just as I've always been very concerned with whether my children's daycare environment is working for them.

 

I think that if I pull my DD from her current school and put her in a gifted magnet, she could end up loving it, or she could end up wishing that had never happened. I just don't know. But it's my responsibility to look hard at the situation and try to make the best choice for her.

 

As for the results-based parenting framework--I suppose, kinda. Oh, I know--I'm not supposed to admit to this being my motivation, but whatever. I don't parent the way I parent because I think it will create growth in me or fix me, no--or because it's the only way that feels good to me. I wouldn't say I have a particular ethical investment in a particular brand of parenting, either, outside of, obviously, avoiding abuse. I choose what I choose (please note that we are not talking about an AP checklist here at all) because I think it's what's best for the kids, generally speaking. (This does not translate to "I give them whatever they want" or "I sacrifice everything for them.") That doesn't mean that I'll feel I've failed if they don't turn out to be happy, together, wonderful people, because again, I acknowledge the role of genes, randomness, circumstance, etc. Again, though, I have to do what I can. That's all. I made them. I have to try.


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Old 11-23-2010, 02:53 AM
 
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I cannot guarantee my child's happiness by what schooling I find for him

 

But you might be able to prevent them from being a long-winded blabbermouth like me, LOL!

 

That is exactly what I meant... maybe not only guarantee, but also (inversely), you will not guarantee the opposite, either.

 

 

Quote:
I wouldn't say I have a particular ethical investment in a particular brand of parenting, either, outside of, obviously, avoiding abuse.

 

I agree with this and while I think AP and GD certainly fit my beliefs better, I don't think they are the be-all and end-all of ethical parenting.  Nice to know we all have some room!

 

 

Quote:
kids are in school 6 hours a day, so it does make sense to look at whether that environment is working for them, just as I've always been very concerned with whether my children's daycare environment is working for them.

 

I agree 100% and again... maybe that's because I don't see it as an either-or type thing, I know we are all looking out for our kids' moral well-being as well as their intellectual and physical development, and in some respects we really can have it all.  What a blessing that is!


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Old 11-23-2010, 02:55 AM
 
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Oh, and FWIW... it's not that I want GD to make me the good person... I think we're all kind of in a continual struggle for that, and this looked like the best toolkit for parenting I could have in that respect, vs. other self-help parenting books.  Not that I chose GD to improve myself as a specific task.  I realize it read like that.


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Old 11-23-2010, 02:16 PM
 
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EdnaMarie, the *this* that you quoted from my post had a specific context. It was not an all-encompassing generalisation of life and ethics, but a specific reference to working out the natural conclusion of the equation you are working with- that is, as you have admitted and that was already abundantly clear to me before, a judeo-christian-islamic ethic based on hand-me-down (a.k.a. traditional) values essential to supporting the ethic these religions promulgate. I was not being presumptuous at all, but ironically, you presumed I was. It is clear that you have not worked out the supernaturally-invoked ethic in this natural world.

 

In this natural, evident, incontrovertible world, the judeo-christian-islamic ethic cannot be asserted as incontrovertible because, for instance, I do not live according to it, I am happy, and I also provide a happy life for my children. I shouldn't be able to do that, right? Yet it is true: I do. And not just me, but lots of others, too. Your assertion that it is impossible for a person to be truly happy while valuing her own life as a basis for valuing all others (so above all others) is just not true. I would never presume that you are not truly happy, given your judeo-christian-islamic ethic, but I do know for certain, that I would not be (borne out by experience, being formerly a theologian, evangelical deacon's wife, and active, true christian, church member).

 

Going back to the earlier topic of dying for other people, I would jump into the river to try to save my child. A value is something I work to keep, and I would work to keep my child's and my life because while my life is preeminent, my child's is just the next hair-line down from that, and my life would be forever less full without him/her. Yes, that is selfish, but rationally so: a dead person doesn't have values, so I have no choice but to work with what's alive, and that's me and my child as long as I keep him/her alive. If s/he dies, I am the one who has lost a value I hold enormously dear, and I will suffer. The dead child won't. So, even in this circumstance, I work to keep what enhances my life, what forms my sense of life, my enjoyment of living. In this case, my child is at stake, and I will do everything within my power to keep that person in my life, being a value that is so closely linked to my own life, which I value preeminently.

 

The judeo-christain-islamic ethic is one of self-sacrifice. As long as that is your foundation, we will not agree, and it doesn't benefit either of us to launch personal attacks to prove the validity of our chosen ethics. This is not what I have done, so your concern that I have done so with presumption, hopefully is alleviated by my assertion that I am not interested in your personal life or your personal opinion, but rather the principles that you have discussed here. I have found your expression of ethics to be inconsistent with reality, but consistent with judeo-christian-islamic ethics.

 

My challenge to you was to logically work out the ethic, systematically, so you can see its actual conclusions. I have actually done this, over a course of eight years, amassing loads of information and deliberately parsing what I found, systematizing it, and finding once I'd done that, that others had done the same, and found the same conclusions that all lined up with reality, not opinion, but objective reality- that which is whether or not we recognise it.  In other words, I am not asking you to undertake what I, myself, have not also done; it is bloody hard work!

 

Now, given that I have poisoned the well out of necessity, for clarity, my initial intention in addressing your posts cannot come to fruition as I had hoped, but no matter; if nothing else, I thought it was worthwhile to point to the root of the disagreements in the discussion, which you have done in expressing you foundational ethic. The next step is to question (thoroughly, since you live by it; it had better be right, no? Your particular ethic demands that it is right/correct, so does it hold up to that standard?) whether that ethic accords with reality. Whether you choose to do so or not is neither here nor there to me, but this is a discussion board, so the underlying expectation of participating on it is that you and I and everyone who participates, are willing to discuss what we are discussing. :)

 

My challenge to you was not to evaluate your own life and circumstances: I have no such place in your life and wouldn't presume it! I was hoping that you might take what has been expressed by you and possibly by me and work the principles through from their beginning to their ends. My reason for challenging you to do this is that I enjoy encouraging people to examine their beliefs, but also, I hoped that in doing so, you might not be so quick to assert the supposed veracity of the ethic you hold, to people who find it absurd. My reason for this is that you have many times over expressed how confused and ignorant others who disagree with you must be to hold such obviously different views than you do. I wanted you to stop doing that of your own volition because it is neither helpful, nor kind, and it is difficult to have a discussion when someone (or everyone as is sometimes the case) within the group uses a fallacy of intimidation (Oh, no! Not reeally?! You couldn't believe that! Eeeeveryone knows xyz...! -amidst self-congratulatory chuckling- all without the actual facts being presented for analysis, and then being freely analysed). There is no sense in carrying on discussion, under these circumstances, imo.

 

I have laid out my ethic, though not comprehensively (I do have five children at home with me and my partner is presently away at his job, gone for fourteen hrs/day and 9 days out of 11, ick), and clearly it is opposite to yours, and clearly I have concluded that my ethic is correct, right, and accords with reality, and have rejected all other ethical systems in favour of the one I hold. So, it is also clear that I will not agree with your conclusions unless they incidentally line up with mine, but I would not adopt your conclusions without warrant, even if they seemed reasonable. Reasonable isn't good enough because it simply begs the question "according to what standard?" Now that I know what standard you use, I am challenging you to examine it thoroughly because in my experience, it doesn't accord with reality. Maybe that offends you. No matter, this is my finding; I can't un-see what I've seen, yk? My expression of the ethic I hold isn't a proscription for the population of the world, but of course, given that it seems correct to me, I hope it would be (eta: freely adopted) in the future; I see its promise for humanity, but the prevailing ethics derived of, in my opinion, oppressive religious regimes, obviously do not. I think that's sad (an opinion), but I'll carry on in my life navigating as I have and hopefully continuing to find success according to my values, how ever differently ordered and completely opposing they may be from the norm.

 

Anyway, I hope you can see that I am not attacking you; I simply hoped to generate beneficial discussion about principles, values and possibly virtues. I think that has happened somewhat, and I thank you for your willingness to participate and respond to my queries. It is honestly, truly, fine with me if you would prefer to leave it here.  


Well, I've been absent for 8 months, and during that time, it turns out that I have completely transformed. You are all precious. Thank you for being here and sharing your lives. You are truly a gift. namaste.gif Jan. 23, 2012

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Old 12-13-2010, 04:43 PM
 
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As to the whole community service vs. intellectual pursuits thing.  I think, in some ways that's too narrow of a debate.  I'm a scientist who works in a field of pure theory.  At face value it doesn't appear that my work helps society.  However, many side effects of my field have helped society (once specifically ended up finding a way to cure a specific type of cancer).  Additionally, we are pushing the barriers of human knowledge, which I do believe is also valuable to society at large. Now my day-to-day work is not quite so sexy sounding but it is a drop in the bucket of human understanding and that does give me personal satisfaction that I'm giving back to society in a way.  Obviously, it's not nearly as direct as going into the Peace Corps (something I actually have been interested in doing later on in life..) but it still has its use.  I have a feeling that many intellectual careers are similar.  That's precisely why the government funds because of all the side benefits that are not immediately obvious.

 

I hope it didn't sound like I thought a person needed to start a community recycling program or something.

 

How sad that "thinking of others" and "putting others first" has been boxed in like that by our society.  To me, thinking of others is so simple as to be something you can literally do nearly all the time.  Granted, not while contemplating butterflies for their innate beauty, but certainly, if you are standing at the nature reserve, then making sure you stand out of people's way...

 

I want to go back to school in theoretical physics and metaphysics.  Sound useless?

 

Do you think the Internet would exist without Shroedinger's Cat (whether he exists or not)?  That's what I thought.  :D

 

 

Quote:
the deepest element of my own core identity is my creative identity, which does not particularly serve the world, especially since much of my art is seen only by me or a few other people.

 

I think the creation of beauty is one of the most wonderful ways we can serve humanity.  Even art that reaches a small number of people is important.  Everyone needs to be touched by art, and not everyone is going to be touched in the same way.  It is the small things that are important.  Many of Emily Dickinson's poems were not seen by anyone until after her death.

 

Loving others isn't always about spooning gruel at the soup kitchen.

 

Like it or not, how we live our lives provides a template for what our children view as worthwhile activities.  If we love learning because that brings us closer to peace, if we care for others because we believe that is our job (and I don't mean... spend Saturdays in the prison sick ward, though that is also nice... I mean, listen to other people, be that true friend that remembers to bring flowers, stand up and offer to fold the chairs back up after the PTA meeting, bring hamburgers to the lady that just gave birth, just think of others, period, doesn't have to be some career choice or anything)--then that is what our child will pick up on.

 

So I'm not saying set out a lesson plan and lecture schedule on humanitarianism.

 

I'm saying, the child with a great set of values and a strong sense of identity rooted in community, who knows her parents love her no matter what, will not become unhinged when college disappoints, because she will know life is so much more than that.

 

I realize that some of you are saying, "Sure, sure, but what about THAT?  What about the intellect?  How to deal with intellectual frustration?"  And I guess my answer is, it will not be devastating if you have a passion in life and have a place in your community.  You will be able to create interesting things for yourself.

 

I never thought learning to write backwards would be so useful (I taught myself during the seventh grade, so bored was I... among other things).  Well, can I tell you how many compliments I get on my handwriting in Persian and Arabic?  LOL!  "Like you have been writing that way since you were a child."  :beam:  You see... I can make the best of what I got.

 

Because I'm not focused on what I lost.  I'm focused on what I have and always learning.  Yay, life, yay, mom, yay, world...

 

Now imagine if my perspective were, "I am so bored, I am so bored, someone stimulate me...."

 

I never would have learned to write backwards.  I wouldn't have taken up Persian or Arabic.  I wouldn't have studied several other languages up to that point so that I was capable at my age of picking up another language easily.  And on and on and on.

 

:shrug:

 

By all means, look for the answer in a particular educational style.  I personally am convinced that the answer to personal fulfillment will never be found in specific accomplishments, at least not isolated from the world.


 

Thank you, EdnaMarie and others and of course the OP for such a wonderful discussion.

 

Funny you mention about a recycling program.  My husband just got a job in recycling electronic waste.  His company does 100 percent demanufacturing so that none of it goes into landfills and no parts get re-sold overseas.


I could hug you all.  I've been reading through this thread off and on since late last night.

 

I gave up my professional career in the biotech field for my daughters 6.5 years ago.  From time to time I experience a deep sadness for what I gave up.  Not just the built-in service to others (by providing medical genetics testing for orphan diseases), but giving up the intellectual stimulation and companionship with the other scientists and medical doctors of my field.

 

I went to a public high school where there was no gifted program per se, but had honors classes, I turned down a private university for personal reasons (not unlike the pressures related to the OP), and went to a Big 10 public university.  It wasn't a bad trade-off.  I was challenged enough with my math and science classes and I met my husband there.  No, I couldn't ace everything...because calculus and physics weren't my strongest suit and, well, I hung out with a fairly social group of engineers. 

 

Does providing nurturing guidance and home-cooked meals and teaching my kids a few things and trying to do some independent study on my own as well as learn all I can about selective mutism to help other parents (which is my own version of 'community service') compare in worth to what I was doing before?  It should...but it doesn't...partly because I can't contribute to family income and my husband's job is commission only and he hasn't made any sales (he just started 2 weeks ago) so money has been tight.  I also feel like I'm constantly challenged to deal with isolation, boredom and I feel guilty for pursuing passions that don't bring in a paycheck.  He got laid off in October, there's no unemployment benefits because something is messed up with the application. 

 

I think the biggest sadness I have in my life is the absence of supportive mother mentors in my life that are AP as well for encouragement.

 

Since I am raising girls...it's really important for me to figure out how to navigate this area - getting the need for personal fulfillment met AND serving the needs of the individuals of our family.  I've struggled greatly in this area and it affects the health of my marriage. 

 

I can't really ask the women of my family...since all of them work, they aren't GT (though, my mother might be a closet giftie because she's been entrepreneurial and has a shrewd head on her shoulders even though she never went to college) and AND have money and can't relate to my struggles OR my values.

 

My mother has ALSO said, "it's not all about you"...yet would turn around and focus her attention on the accumulation of money and used it to manipulate and control.  So I have not just been under-mothered, but psychologically damaged by my mother that I've been working my way out of the past few years.  Add to that my real dad had been out of my life for 29 years, so add father abandonment issues to the mix.

 

I feel like I'm babbling...but I have felt that sometimes...it's not even parental expectations that cause difficulties for a gifted child.  When an under-supported gifted child has predominantly the intellectual pursuits and accomplishments as a major anchor for identity and self-worth, it becomes a very difficult task to redefine one's self worth and place in society.  

 

I do know that I want to ensure that my daughters aren’t simply chasing after the happiness in life through typical channels of achievement, status and money.   I’d rather they be capable of deriving satisfaction from life...in whatever they choose to do, even if it's not high status or well-paid. 


Edna Marie, I am glad you mentioned Bertrand Russell.  I've finally moved it to the top of my reading list.  I'm reading the part about Boredom and Excitement.  Comes in handy because I always feel more boredom and cabin fever during the winter months.

 

 

Quote:

Nor have the lives of great men been exciting except at a few great moments. Socrates could enjoy a banquet now and again, and must have derived considerable satisfaction from his conversations while the hemlock was taking effect, but most of his life he lived quietly with Xanthippe, taking a constitutional in the afternoon, and perhaps meeting a few friends by the way. Kant is said never to have been more than ten miles from Konigsberg in all his life. Darwin, after going round the world, spent the whole of the rest of his life in his own house. Marx, after stirring up a few revolutions, decided to spend the remainder of his days in the British Museum. Altogether it will be found that a quiet life is characteristic of great men, and that their pleasures have not been of the sort that would look exciting to the outward eye.

 

 

And...well, I appreciate the references to creating for creating's sake, not so that someone else can admire the work.  I admit, I feel bad when I write or take pictures something I feel good about, but my husband doesn't seem to be impressed or no one responds to it on my blog.  But I have to remember, I'm doing it for ME...not for the recognition. 

 

I think (for my circumstance anyway) that finding ways to derive satisfaction from whatever I choose to do (be it service or intellectual or creative pursuits) while serving my family is probably the most important thing I can model for my daughters.  I think it has less to do with *what* I do or achieve and more to do with my attitude in doing them and finding satisfaction in all tasks, great or small, notable or not. 

 

I appreciate this discussion and the contributions made by all of you.  It is a rare thing to have this kind of in-depth intellectual/supportive discussion from others who have made similar compromises in their lives...  I have been looking far and wide...and I appreciate the perspectives and experiences.

 

Thanks...


I sure hope this post makes sense.  I have to get going and I'll come back and edit later if it's unclear.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Old 12-13-2010, 07:23 PM
 
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Miss I - I should be packing but I have to say that whenever you post it is like you are living my life but a few years ahead!  Well, not exactly, but just the science and the kids and dealing with that and finding meaning/purpose and enjoyment.  Thanks for posting.  I appreciate how you put your finger on the concept that

 

When an under-supported gifted child has predominantly the intellectual pursuits and accomplishments as an major anchor for identity and self-worth, it becomes a very difficult task to redefine one's self worth and place in society

 

And the idea of what to do in life as an example to daughters.

 

GTG, but thanks!

 

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Old 12-13-2010, 08:33 PM
 
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Thank you, and have a safe trip, Tjej.

 


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Old 12-15-2010, 03:48 PM
 
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Miss- I enjoyed reading your post and I find it interesting because we have somewhat of a similar background but chose diverging paths.  I had sort of a crazy/messed up childhood and became a scientist but have ended up sticking with it even though I've certainly had my fair share of doubts. One thing that really struck a cord with me is this:

"I think the biggest sadness I have in my life is the absence of supportive mother mentors in my life that are AP as well for encouragement.

Since I am raising girls...it's really important for me to figure out how to navigate this area - getting the need for personal fulfillment met AND serving the needs of the individuals of our family.  I've struggled greatly in this area and it affects the health of my marriage. " (sorry, my computer doesn't let me quote well...).  

This has always been on the front of my mind.  DH and I moving and while it's a GREAT move for him, it's probably not the best possible place I could've gotten a job.  It is, however, by far the best possible move for our family as a whole for many, many reasons but I certainly have pondered if I've let down my gender a bit (or maybe better put still be a good role model on what females can do in the workplace for DD) by following my husband.  It's such a hard balance and I'm CONSTANTLY questioning myself on this.  I never had any good, working female role models growing up (I actually grew up in a very strict religious background so females weren't encouraged to work outside of the home...) so it's very hard for me to objectively look at my life choices in this sense.  

However, like you mentioned I do seek out my own personal fulfillment through other avenues, not just through my work (I'm constantly reading, like to draw, experiment in the kitchen etc.) and I think that alone sets a good example for DD.  I think also of my father who has a job that's definitely below his skill level (he likes it though because it allows him to be very social so it still fulfills a need of his).  However, my father also has many hobbies so even though work doesn't satisfy him entirely intellectually he was able to branch out into other areas and lives a content life. 

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I found your post so interesting and I really need to think more about this as it applies to my dd.  I've always considered myself an underachiever, especially after being told countless times about how "smart" I was, but yet not achieving or performing at the level I thought was appropriate.  I spent so much of my life questioning my true intelligence and the label I was given so early in life because everything didn't come as easily to me as I expected.  I thought that if I were truly smart or gifted that I shouldn't really need to study and that things should be so much easier than they were in school.  It tripped me up!   

 

I also loved reading the research about emphasis on achievement vs. emphasis on supposed ability.  It may have made my life easier to know this or for my parents to have known this!

 

Anyway, maybe I need to think long and hard about what that label would mean for my daughter and how I want to help her with her if and when all of this gifted stuff comes up.  But maybe having gone through some of it puts us a bit ahead of the game as far as helping our children.  My parents didn't have that experiences and didn't know how to help me deal with all that comes with being "gifted."  Thanks for posting this!

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Old 12-22-2010, 09:12 PM
 
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Miss- I enjoyed reading your post and I find it interesting because we have somewhat of a similar background but chose diverging paths.  I had sort of a crazy/messed up childhood and became a scientist but have ended up sticking with it even though I've certainly had my fair share of doubts. One thing that really struck a cord with me is this:

"I think the biggest sadness I have in my life is the absence of supportive mother mentors in my life that are AP as well for encouragement.

Since I am raising girls...it's really important for me to figure out how to navigate this area - getting the need for personal fulfillment met AND serving the needs of the individuals of our family.  I've struggled greatly in this area and it affects the health of my marriage. " (sorry, my computer doesn't let me quote well...).  

This has always been on the front of my mind.  DH and I moving and while it's a GREAT move for him, it's probably not the best possible place I could've gotten a job.  It is, however, by far the best possible move for our family as a whole for many, many reasons but I certainly have pondered if I've let down my gender a bit (or maybe better put still be a good role model on what females can do in the workplace for DD) by following my husband.  It's such a hard balance and I'm CONSTANTLY questioning myself on this.  I never had any good, working female role models growing up (I actually grew up in a very strict religious background so females weren't encouraged to work outside of the home...) so it's very hard for me to objectively look at my life choices in this sense.  

However, like you mentioned I do seek out my own personal fulfillment through other avenues, not just through my work (I'm constantly reading, like to draw, experiment in the kitchen etc.) and I think that alone sets a good example for DD.  I think also of my father who has a job that's definitely below his skill level (he likes it though because it allows him to be very social so it still fulfills a need of his).  However, my father also has many hobbies so even though work doesn't satisfy him entirely intellectually he was able to branch out into other areas and lives a content life. 

 

It IS a hard balance. 

 

I believe that...in time, I'll find the right next path to take, though some days its tough cause the boredom gets to me.  But, I need to count my blessings.  I get to go to the bookstore whenever I want and kick back and read.  Sometimes I take myself to lunch and write.  I get bored...then I find something interesting to capture my attention, and I run with it.

 

This year, most of my reading has had to do with personal development - books on trauma therapy and books on dealing with mean mothers and absentee fathers, and books from Jungian psychology to existential philosophy, to Dabrowski's Theory of Positive Disintegration, and David Richo's book How to be an Adult: A Handbook on Psychological and Spiritual Integration... that one came this week from Amazon.  It's pretty amazing...and probably quite appropriate for this forum topic...

 

from Richo's website

 

http://www.davericho.com/Books.htm:

 

How to Be An Adult...

 

"This is a handbook on how to become an adult who is actualizing a strong, healthy ego and going beyond it to release the spiritual powers of the Self. It is the heroic journey of exploring our personal issues and finding ways to deal with our childhood wounds, our need to be more assertive, our fear, anger, and guilt. We then explore relationships and how to be happier in them: what intimacy is and how to increase it, the setting of boundaries, and our fears of closeness. Finally we look at our spirituality, unconditional love, and affirmations of wholeness."

 

After the holidays, I'm either going to take a class, or find some part time work.  I could go back to one of my old jobs for some PT work...at least for some re-training.  I already have a contact there and I visited the lab last year.  Everything's just so highly automated now that it kind of took the art out of it.  It's rather sad.

 

In the meantime...even since I posted, I've been contacted a few times by parents and a teacher school about selective mutism information, so I communicated with them the things I have learned and that was used for my daughter.   So even though I'm not getting paid for my work, I feel a little useful.  All my research into selective mutism is helping others so they don't have to waste time and/or dollars on the wrong kinds of help.

 

 


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