An exchange the other day: A mother was told by a teacher that her child would likely be identified as gifted if they had him tested. Quote from another person: "You must be so proud."
I've been pondering this choice of word. I think "proud" is not the right one. It's like saying "aren't you proud your child has brown eyes?" In the realm of intellectual giftedness, having a certain IQ is probably not something that shows great parenting, or hard work on the part of the child, at least not in the way that getting an A on a tough assignment would. That you could be proud of. IQ, like many human characteristics, has a very strong genetic component. There are probably some things that lower it (like malnutrition), and perhaps things that raise it on the margins. I just read an article about a study in the European Journal of Public Health finding that babies who are fed on demand (as opposed to on a schedule) have a slightly higher IQ than other babies, controlling for parent education and income and "parenting styles." Though really, with that last one, it's hard to know how one controls such things. One can imagine that there are other variables that correlate with demand-feeding that a study would just miss.
So if giftedness isn't really a result of something you or your kid have done, how do you deal with the "proud" comment? Obviously, parents are usually proud of their kids but that language seems to hint at one of the major misconceptions of gifted education, namely, that it's a reward. Ideally, gifted education is an educational intervention for children who need it. How have you responded to people saying you must be "proud" for your children to be in a gifted program, or to have been identified as such?