“When you are up to your knees in alligators, it’s hard to remember the original goal was to drain the swamp.”

I printed this quote in “A Collection of Quotes from the Pelican Press in 1995 before I began my adventure as an educator (some attribute this quote to Ronald Reagan.)  At the time, I was the editor for my kids’ elementary school PTA newsletter.  These quotes were collected from the issues between 1993-1995.  I am using the idiomatic definition in this post – “when performing a long and complex task, and when you’ve gotten utterly immersed in secondary and tertiary unexpected tangential subtasks, it’s easy to lose sight of the initial objective. This sort of distraction can be particularly problematic if the all-consuming subtask or sub-subtask is not, after all, particularly vital to the original, primary goal, but ends up sucking up time and resources (out of all proportion to its actual importance) only because it seems so urgent.”

You forget that others aren’t as informed about an issue when you are buried deep into something that you are passionate about and you have some expertise in.  When I first learned that my daughter and son were gifted learners in elementary school, there was very little in the way of resources available to answer my questions about how best to raise them.  One site that lingers on from the early 1990’s is Hoagies Gifted.  Make sure you stop by and dive into their resource.

During my college years (after my daughter was in high school), I distinctly remember a conversation from a professor at my university in the early 2000’s who predicted the demise of gifted programs all over the nation once No Child Left Behind went into affect.  She was right.  The one thing she could not have predicted is how the internet would provide a voice for the struggling parent raising their gifted child or the gifted adult sharing their experiences growing up with or without support for their social/emotional, academic or artistic needs.

Now my children are officially gifted adults and I’m a certified teacher of the gifted in two states.  I spend my extra time outside of school reading up on the news about gifted education, advocating for gifted learners through #gtchat on Twitter and supporting the parents of the gifted learning on my campus.   And the resources available to them is phenomenal compared to the early 1990’s.  Researchers in the field are publishing new books every day.  Individuals are posting about their experiences as a gifted individual or raising a gifted child.  I’ve linked this website to many of them.  Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented hosts one of the biggest conferences in the US every year.  The next one is Dec 3-5 in Dallas/Fort Worth.  There are many more conferences out there.  Check them out by visiting this page on Hoagies Gifted. 

Now, you can find someone with a similar experience.  Now, you can come to your child’s school with resources for the teacher that will meet the needs of your gifted child.  Now, you can understand yourself better as a gifted adult.


You have the responsibility to not get buried in the information but to use it further your understand and educate the newcomers to the field.  Keep your eye on initial goal of getting the appropriate resources to the teachers and families of the gifted learner.