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Monday, August 07, 2006


SENG Conference - Part 4

The last thing I simply must share with you was my experience of watching Annemarie Roeper give a presentation on the first evening. It was the most electric, real, and useful session of the whole conference.

The topic was "Growing Old Gifted". There was a great anticipation of her speech because she has been highly influential in the field of gifted education, and shows no signs of stopping now. A tiny elderly lady dressed in white, she was introduced and the interview format began.

Annemarie began to talk as she had planned but soon ditched her format and began to cry. She had just heard the news that she was to be a great-grandmother - that one of her granddaughters is pregnant. This overwhelmed her with emotions. She was profoundly grateful that she had been saved from the Nazis by the incredibly courageous actions of her late husband, and deeply touched that her family and work was allowed to flower in the US as a result. The happy news took her to unexpected memories and a tracing of connections in her life that had made it possible. A reasoned exposition of getting older as a gifted person became impossible - and unnecessary - as she explained to us why this event meant so much to her.

It was the most beautiful thing to witness her presence and emotion - the reality of being gifted, the great sensitivity and deep feeling than so often occur in this population, leading to a keen awareness of the beauty and fragility of life. It was a rare example of someone exposing their giftedness and being extremely vulnerable in front of 400 people. It was true leadership.

Afterwards, I thanked Annemarie for her session and she expressed her disappointment at her performance because she hadn't given any information about growing old gifted, as she had planned. As I said to her, that's why it was so incredibly valuable. She didn't tell us; she showed us.

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Great entry. I've only just stumbled upon your blog, so this is a rather belated reply.

One of my concerns about growing older as a gifted person is that I'll be ushered into an old-age facility and be expected to play nicely with others in conventional ways. (i.e., Made to engage in activities such as bridge, knitting, dancing to music played by a pianist on a piano that hasn't been tuned in decades.) In other words, a repeat of primary school. I'd like to see care facilities come to address giftedness to avoid mismatch scenarios.
Interesting post. I have "wooshed" it on to others who will be very interested.
Look forward to more of your postings
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