Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The Word Is GIFTED

This series is inspired by the "Words From
Unity" public service announcements
that ran on television (particularly in
Kansas City) in the 1970's and 80's.
When, in the course of our evolving English language, did we turn "gifted" from an adjective into a verb? What's wrong with "gave?" Now that I have that rant out of the way, let's get back to the adjective form of the word.

When I was in elementary school, those students who scored above a certain standardized test score got to take part in my district's "Gifted and Talented" program, commonly known as "G and T." I'm not sure what went on in this program, but I got the feeling it was lot like what Bart Simpson encountered.

Naturally, this leads to jealousy -- both in your wee servant and undoubtedly others. Why do only the smart kids get to do the cool stuff? Nowadays, we have magnet and charter schools that cater to your heart's desire while still teaching everything else. I wish there would have been one for software development. I was developing Mac applications while the other kids were playing dodgeball.

My parents could sense my frustration, and the Queen Mother had an answer. "Those people in G & T have to do extra work, and you grumble about the work you have to do as it is." Not long ago, after I brought up this memory again, the Queen Mother revealed to your servant that the G & T kids got to work on individual projects of their choosing, a sort of guided-study course. I could've persuaded a teacher or two to let me work on a Macintosh or TRS-80 or CP/M program as my project. I would dive deeper down the rabbit hole of software engineering and it wouldn't seem like work.

I never got into G & T. By the time I hit high school, the course selection was diverse enough to kill much of the blackboard blues. I got to load up on debate, theater and programming classes. I learned to sew in Home Economics. I learned to type. I had everything I wanted and lots of things I didn't have time for but would pursue later. That was the real "gift."

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