Conceptual Foundations

Concurrent

Who Am I, What Do I Want from Life? A Guide for Gifted Emerging Adults and a Call for Research

Saturday, November 11
8:00 AM - 9:00 AM
Location: 218 A

What happens to talent development when a gifted emerging adult (18-27) does not develop an adult identity or fails to become financially and emotionally independent? What are the important decisions a gifted EA must make to continue developing talent? Addressing these issues may require the gifted EA to risk failure, reduce financial and emotional dependence on parents, and reframe expectations in generationally relevant terms that center on asking what do I want from life, and what kind of person am I.

In this session I describe this situation in detail, present an EA identity model that incorporates giftedness, and suggest interventions designed to achieve identity and independence.

Tom Shaff

Director
Posse Vygotsky

Thomas J. Shaff, PhD Biographical statement

Asking a gifted emerging adult what he or she wants from life seems perfectly reasonable. After all, I recall being a 20-something full of ideas and energy ready to take on the world. But why should only the 20-somethings have all the fun? I sensed that gifted emerging adults and older gifted adults face challenges that demand transforming how we understand giftedness at all points of a person’s life.

As I think back on all the schemes and theories and adventures as a parent of two gifted young men, as a teacher, a creative director, and now a researcher, I ask who and what made a difference for me? To whom might I make a difference? Was it any curriculum? An amazing theory? A dream project? A high status job? My mom, a middle school teacher, and one of my six most influential people, announced over supper that she and the other teachers had seen the future of education. We waited expectantly for a cosmic pronouncement. And waited. Then she burst out laughing as she said, “Filmstrips!”

These six people took me to places from where I could see the known world. They gave me ideas about how to anticipate the unknown, and the courage to embrace it. A few life lessons stand out. Expect change. Learn how to learn. Accept who you are. Be thankful. All experts will eventually be wrong. So let’s get on with it. No matter what, be the change you want.

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Who Am I, What Do I Want from Life? A Guide for Gifted Emerging Adults and a Call for Research



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