Monday, September 25, 2006

Nurturing Talent

The Vancouver Sun tackles the tricky issue of nurturing gifted kids' talents in an article called Nourishing the Super Kid. While the Superman art is a bit much, the article is actually pretty good, and worth a read.

The lead anecdote is about a mom whose kid was really into marine biology. She and her husband, to put it mildly, were not. But they were not intimidated by that fact. "It didn't matter that neither of them knew the difference between a sea slug and a salamander," the article states. "What mattered, Ansell-Shepherd says, is that they knew how to introduce their son to people who did."

So they took him to the museum. They took him to the library and let him load up on books. They took him to meetings of the local natural history society -- a move that's going above the call of duty, but hey. Quite simply, the kid's school was never going to teach marine biology. He loved the subject. So if he was going to learn it, he'd have to learn it outside of school. So he did.

The article goes on to give other good advice. Even in small towns where amenities are comparatively limited, it's often possible to find unexpected ways to feed a gift, one of the interviewed experts says. "It's about being resourceful. There are people in every community who can nurture passions. There's an assumption that every good coach was a gifted athlete. That's not true. I know many coaches who can't even participate in the sports they coach. You don't have to be a participant yourself to be a great mentor."

Nurturing gifts is tough. But I liked the approach of this piece. It's doable, no matter where you are.

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