Magazine article Parenting for High Potential

Developing Talents and Interests

Magazine article Parenting for High Potential

Developing Talents and Interests

Article excerpt

The talent development process involves the intersection of personal interest, talent in a domain, and commitment to succeed. A unique series of informal, interactive booklets recently came to my attention, and the story behind their creation reaffirmed my belief in the interplay among those three factors. In this case, there was a powerful blending of a passion for nature and animals, the unfolding of hidden artistic and writing talents, the desire to make a difference in the world, and the support of a mentor. The project demonstrated the principle that talent development can be a lifelong process, the importance of which can emerge during any time in one's life.

Kay Wilson, the booklets' author, taught first and second grade for 33 years before retiring. Then she found the time to learn how to use watercolor paints in order to create her favorite scenes from nature. Soon Wilson combined her teaching experience, love of painting, interest in animals, and benevolent beliefs into a series of small, simply prepared and printed booklets that offer children an opportunity to add their own flavor to each page.

Because of the author's unique style, the brief and simple booklets (just 10 pages each, spiral-bound) are both useful and usable. They are useful in the sense that they teach a little about wildlife and offer a chance for children and parents to do something enjoyable together. Also, they engage children's minds while inviting creative expression. Knowing how much young children love to scribble and doodle, she made the booklets usable by inviting children to add their own drawings to the existing illustrations in the booklets. The author purposely made the pages one-sided to allow more room for children to add their own ideas to the stories. As a result, they become personally involved with the characters in the story.

One of the booklets, Lucky the "Superb Owl, "is based on a true story of a 4-inch-tall, saw-whet owl that broke its wing as a juvenile and is unable to fly. A kind person found the injured owl and took it to the nearby White Pine Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, where a veterinarian cared for him. The owl, known as Lucky, is now healthy but, unfortunately, is no longer able to fly. Because he cannot be returned to his natural habitat, Lucky lives permanently at White Pine, where the staff uses him to help teach people about wildlife and the rehab center. Another booklet, Critters from the Creek tells a story involving fictional animals living near Kinni Creek. Spunky and the Mice of Kinnickinnic is a tale about a cat who used to visit the historic Kinnickinnic Church near River Falls, WI. Spunky guards the outside of the church while his unlikely friends, a pair of mice named Kinni and Nie, move inside for the winter months. Proceeds from the sale of the author's booklets support local organizations, such as the humane society and the historical society.

Finally, the author has been supported and encouraged in her efforts by her friend and mentor, Dr. John Thurston of Eau Claire, WI. To illustrate the impact of a mentor in the talent development process, I share with you a special message Ms. Wilson presented to him on the occasion of his 80th birthday.

"I shared my Prairie Notebook

You encouraged me to publish

but I was AFRAID!

I shared my Christmas Booklet

Again you encouraged me to publish

but I lacked the COURAGE!

Then, you told me about Lucky

a "Superb Owl"

With Lucky's help and inspiration,

support from Amy and Patti,

and your expertise

I Published!

Thanks for being a "Superb Friend" and

Happy Birthday!

If you are interested in knowing more about the author's goals, activities, or products, you may contact her at: Kay Wilson, 721 South Fork Drive, River Fall, WI 54022.

For Grandparents

Keeping in mind that age does not limit talent development, this seems like a good place to mention a new book aimed at grandparents of gifted children. …

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