Another parent meeting, another mother declaring, “He gets it from his father!”

Really? Are you sure about that?
I’m not saying that your child’s father doesn’t play a role in your child’s giftedness. But it takes two to tango. And you, my friend, are part of the dance! 

Look, I get it. 

You aren’t the first woman to make that proclamation. And it’s not like you don’t have legitimate reasons for doing so.

You don’t have the creds—you were never identified, hold no higher education degrees, have no lofty career aspirations.

You were identified, excelled, achieved, and earned that Ph.D., but now you’re “only” a mom, volunteering at your kid’s school, serving on nonprofit boards, caring for an ailing parent, unable to find meaningful work that pays, but honestly (and a bit embarrassingly) feeling like your life has enough meaning already.

You did lousy in school—daydreamed, checked out, prioritized boys before books. Then you moved on to college and found a way to juggle time in the library with that spent on your love life, and achieved a killer GPA in the process. But that was a fluke—anyone could have done it. 

As for all those opportunities that arose as you approached graduation, they were due more to luck than to any talent you possessed. Merely the right place at the right time.

You were labeled all sorts of things—shy, sensitive, a pleaser—but never smart. 

And, after seeing the way smart girls were sometimes teased and made to feel unattractive, there was a part of you that was relieved. Driven by the labels bestowed, you worked diligently to mold yourself into society’s notions of what a girl should be. Alas, by the time adolescence hit, you were nearly a pro at hiding your braininess in an attempt to fit in. 

Gifted women have their acts together. But you make a lot of mistakes, don’t have any direction, can’t keep a job, won’t play well with others—don’t, can’t, won’t, repeat.

Here’s the thing…

Each gifted woman—just like each gifted person, or each person for that matter—is unique. And your giftedness manifests itself in its own way. Believe me I understand the tendency to deny or keep it hidden. But, at some point, while you’re busy attributing it all to your child’s father, you may be forced to concede, “He gets it from me!”

Note 1: I know there are plenty of men who also practice denial, though I’ve heard it less often from them—or, perhaps, they’ve chosen not to share it with me. And they have reasons of their own, but that’s another post.

Note 2: I flipped a coin to determine which pronoun to use in reference to the child in this post; “he” won the coin toss, but “she” came in a close second. Feel free to read this post using either one. Goodness knows I’ve heard both!

Follow the links below for information on gifted girls and women and the traits related to giftedness in this population:



07/19/2015 9:18am

Spot on. You've really nailed how so many women think. What a shame how we diminish who we are, and how this often gets transmitted to our children. Thanks for a great post.

07/20/2015 7:03pm

Thanks, Gail! I appreciate your kind words!

10/26/2015 11:34am

I have read a topic related to this post in one of the issue of Edutopia. With reference to this, according to developmental psychologists Abraham Maslow and Howard Gardener, technically, all students are gifted at something. But within the realm of what happens in the classroom, teachers can help those superstars shine even brighter by simply adding additional strategies to their teaching repertoire. In order to do this, they have to be observant enough to notice student potential in what ever form it is demonstrated. Identifying the student gift for what it is takes a teacher that is not so concerned about controlling student behavior but rather is more concerned about channeling it.


really nice


Your comment will be posted after it is approved.

Leave a Reply