No Less Than the Trees and the Stars

A deeply touching story by a wise woman. Stephanie S. Tolan lost her husband and two sons, last year. Stef has published about gifted children for many years. After the passing of her loved ones, she shares her thoughts about ‘greatness’ and ‘success’. She ends her impressive story thus:

“Every difference has a place. Every life has meaning. Every life.

Will it be a meaning the children themselves will be able to recognize and value? Are we supporting them in that? Do we even know how to support them in that?

I suspect it has to start with the assurance that each of them has a right to be here, has a value to the larger story of humanity on Earth, no matter how like or unlike others they feel they are, whether they feel they fit or not, and no matter how long or short their time here may be. They surely need to see themselves as the hero of their own story. They have an innate right to make their own meaning of it, starting with who they are and what they love. What they do with that should grow from it, not be imposed from outside, or chosen to provide some external proof of their worth.

What can any other success or label, fame or fortune offer? If their story should end tomorrow, what will it have meant?”

Please, also read the ‘About’ page on her blog.

The Deep End

In the more than thirty years I have written and spoken about the needs of gifted children and adults, I have shared a lot of my personal life. But after the last piece I wrote for this blog (December 2012) that life began to disintegrate, as did my ability to turn it into anything that would seem helpful to other people. Between April and July of 2013 I lost my husband of 49 years and the oldest two of our four sons.

Shell-shocked, I withdrew from the world except for a few obligations: Yunasa, the Institute for Educational Advancement’s camp for highly gifted kids and speaking as a member of the Columbus Group about Asynchronous Development at the World Council’s Conference in Louisville.

At that conference the argument between those (like the Columbus Group) who focus on giftedness as a developmental process innate to out-of-the-ordinary individuals (the child-centered view) and…

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Over Dick van der Wateren

Als blogger en onderwijsauteur denk ik na over onderwijs en pedagogiek. In 2016 verscheen bij Uitgeverij Ten Brink mijn boek 'Verwondering' waarin ik een lans breek voor onderwijs op basis van vragen die leerlingen zelf bedenken. Op het ECL in Haarlem heb ik talentvolle en begaafde leerlingen begeleid die meer uitdaging nodig hebben, en leerlingen gecoacht met diverse problemen - onderpresteren, perfectionisme, levensvragen. Na een lang leven in het onderwijs en de wetenschap ben ik in 2017 een filosofische praktijk beginnen, De Verwondering, in Amsterdam. Daar heb ik gesprekken met volwassenen zowel als jongeren over levensvragen, zingeving, werk, studie, relaties.

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