A wise old man told me…

Not so long ago I got a real surprise.  I was out spending a warm summer afternoon with friends when the fifteen year old nephew of one of them asked for my opinion. I don’t remember exactly what I told him, but I will not forget how he answered me: “That’s wise advice from a wise old man.” 

Long ago during my years at Bowdoin College, one of my professors, most assuredly a wise old man himself, suggested to his students that one sign of wisdom might be the ability to recognize how much one does not know.  If that is so, maybe my young friend was right.  I can certainly do that. Nearly half a century after that classroom discussion amidst the halls of ivy, maybe the roles have changed and it is time for me to accept a new one.  Doing that ought to be easier now than it was on another day now past when I was was first informed that “You are a textbook example of a gifted child who was never recognized, never acknowledged, never encouraged.”  That took a lot of getting used to.

I’ve said this before and you will no doubt hear it from me again…in dealing with the issue of gifted kids who have not been recognized or acknowledged or challenged or whatever,  whether they are still kids wondering what’s happening to them or adults who know something got lost along the way but can’t figure out what it was, whether the person of concern is the kid next door or you yourself…the part that truly counts is the answer to the question, “What are you going to do about it?”

In my case the answer is to accept what has happened and share everything I have learned from it.  Those of you who have read some of my work already know that it is my habit to prepare in depth for tasks I can see coming.  That’s what I have been doing in these recent blog entries…telling you about myself, setting the stage for sharing some of my insights and opinions that might be of interest to others. If that’s what being a wise old man who wants to pass on what he learned by surviving being a kid who was too smart for his own good, so be it.

Let’s do it.

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