All I Really Need to Know About Parenting the Gifted I Learned from Star Trek
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All I Really Need to Know About Parenting the Gifted I Learned from Star Trek (well-almost everything). Carolyn M. Callahan January 2013 Based on: All I Really Need to Know I Learned from Watching Star Trek by Dave Marinaccio.

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Carolyn M. Callahan January 2013

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All I Really Need to Know About Parenting the Gifted I Learned from Star Trek(well-almost everything)

Carolyn M. Callahan

January 2013

Based on: All I Really Need to Know I Learned from Watching Star Trek by Dave Marinaccio

The unknown is not to be feared. It is to be examined and understood and accepted.

The more complex the mind, the greater the need for the simplicity of play.

Listen to what kidsare trying tocommunicate instead of listening to what they are saying

…language is only part of communication; just as listening is only part of language. Subtle movements an actions help us interpret words. Sometimes no words are needed at all.

Watch virtually any episode of Star Trek and the Prime Directive will play a part. But Captain James T. Kirk will play a more important part. Judgment will be exercised. And people will be more important than rules.

All people of every species, no matter how alien, have the right to live their lives as they wish.

Developing Talent Potential:A Home-School Joint Venture

Talent Development:Early Years in the Home

  • Child Oriented (NOT child dominant)

  • Oriented toward achievement, success, doing well at all times

  • Models of the work ethic

    • Did their best

    • Hard workers; work before play

    • Belief that one should work for distant goals

  • Expected children to have the same values

    • Excel

    • Do one’s best

    • Work hard

    • Spend one’s time constructively

      Benjamin S. Bloom

      Developing Talent in Young People

Talent Development:Early Years in the Home

  • Children had household chores and responsibilities

    Benjamin S. Bloom

    Developing Talent in Young People

Back to 14

Talent Development:Early Years in the Home

  • Encouraged curiosity

  • Some activities based on child interest and some based on the interests of other family members

Parents as teachers

  • Patient in helping child learn basic skills

  • Praised or applauded the child for small, but real, accomplishments

  • Early learning based on play orientation, enjoyment of learning, intrinsic motivation

    Benjamin S. Bloom

    Developing Talent in Young People


  • For those who rely too heavily on Achievement Adjustment

    • Build self-esteem and knowing one’s own value system

    • Develop an understanding of how the over-reliance on achievement leads to specific behaviors

    • Create environments that are safe for the child to learn to develop and express his or her own views

      • It is safe to disagree

      • It is safe to stand up for what is believed

      • Children are encouraged to listen to each other and resolve differences

    • Involve child in creative, individualized projects and tasks rather than strictly structured ones

    • Encourage child to develop own system and criteria for evaluation of performance/outcomes/tasks/products


  • For those who rely too heavily on Process Adjustment

    • Provide opportunities for child to reflect on social rules and their usefulness

    • Encourage group interactions and tasks like those involved in group instruction (Elizabeth Cohen) where each child’s skill is valued and cooperative interaction is required for success

    • Encourage child to use logical processes to see why it is necessary to get input from others (e.g., peer mediation)

    • Encourage awareness of how the process adjustment leads to specific behaviors and others’ reactions to them, and the long term consequences

Hit a rough spot, and a lot of people will help, if it’s convenient for them. True friends will help even when they have to go out of their way. When you need them, they’re there.

Close friends become family and family is the true center of the universe.

Whatever you are doing, answer a distress call. The most important time to help someone is when they need it.


Be sure they need it.

Success is often contingent on developing self-efficacy

There’s also a lesson from Captain Kirk. When faced with a potential no-win scenario, try something new. Reprogram the situation. Find a way out. Don’t stop trying. And maybe, with original thinking, you too can win the no-win scenario.

…on the bridge of the Enterprise what is important is what you can contribute, not whether you came from Russia or Vulcan. The crew members must give a little of themselves, but they gain the universe.

If you mess something up, it’s your responsibility to make it right again.

If you can keep your head in a crisis you have fighting chance.

Great success is built on a solid foundation, a foundation of loyalty, trust, and respect that you can depend on. Without them you will fail. With them you can command a starship.

Kirk solves the problems he can solve and delegates the problem that need to be solved by someone else.

  • Recognizing the problem (Seeing that your child is not perfect?)

  • Recognizing when outside intervention will be more successful

What Are Some of the Potential Problems(from an interview with Sharon Lind)

  • Perfectionism

    • Perceiving unmet goals as “telescopically large” while seeing those already met as miniscule

    • Showing extreme or magnified responses to personal imperfections or mistakes as well as to negative comments form others

    • Repeatedly running a mental videotape of the day’s mistakes without attempting to find ways to avoid the mistake in the future

    • Being unwilling to accept “inferior” work of others; to share responsibility, or to work in cooperative groups

    • Having a drive for a perfect product that blinds the person from knowing when to quit

    • Show relentless self-criticism or fear of failure which may lead to lack of production

    • Finding it difficult to cope with ambiguity of change

Everyone has a role in life. Sulu is the navigator. Uhura is the communications specialist. Do your own job and the ship will function more smoothly.

  • NO children on the flight deck.

Technology changes, but people don’t.No matter how powerful our computers become or how many diseases welearn to cure, we still act dopey.

Attitude is top priority.Hard work is important. After attitude, talent or gifts are important.

  • End every episode with a smile

If there is a lesson to be learned here, it is about the real next generation. With children, a little patience is a good idea, too. Children will usually surprise you with how well they turn out. It just takes ‘em a bit of time.


  • Do you answer your child’s questions with patience and good humor?

  • Do you take advantage of questions and expressions of interest to guide him/her to further learning and exploration?

  • Do you help your child develop physical and social skills as well as encourage academic growth? Do you avoid overstressing intellectual achievement? Do you appropriate emphasis on hard work?

  • Do you help your child appreciate and get along with children of all levels of intelligence?

  • Do you avoid comparing your child with other family members or companions?

  • Do you communicate to your child that he or she is loved for his/her own sake and not for just intellectual achievement?

  • Do you set reasonable standards of behavior for your child and then see that he/she meets them?

  • Do you provide early opportunities for decision-making by your child, and then follow-up to evaluate decision after the child carries out whatever action was taken? Do you help your child make his/her own plans and decisions?

  • Do you try to find something specific to praise when your child brings you his/her work? (Generalized comments may mean little to a gifted child.)

  • Do you help your child find worthwhile and challenging reading material and television programs and computer games

  • Do you let/invite your child to share in some of your hobbies and interests?

  • Do you take your child on trips to points of interest?

  • Do you help your child learn to budget time, organize work, and improve study habits?

  • Do you give your child increasing independence as ability to handle responsibility increases?

  • Do you give your child household responsibilities and other tasks suitable to age level? And are you careful to balance household tasks and avoid gender stereotyping?

  • Do you avoid over-structuring after school or weekend activities to allow for play?

  • Do you resist the impulse to show your child off? Or exploit your child?

  • Do you support your child’s exploration of interests and development of career goals without imposing your own?

  • Do you express the attitudes and use the language you expect from your child?

  • And lastly, with time and patience, you can even learn something from The Next Generation

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