Prof. Michael F. Shaughnessy

November 1st, 2015- Time for Celebration, Reflection, and Reassessment

Munich, Germany is a wonderful city. I have been there a few times. And I have always enjoyed visiting the museums, as well as the festivals and restaurants and nearby castles. So, there is no better place for Roya Klingner to have her Global Center for Gifted and Talented Children than in a city that should be enjoyed and one that should serve as a vast repository of knowledge, art, music and culture. And in a sense, this is what we are also trying to convey and communicate to gifted children all over the world- the importance of art, music, good literature, culture, and architecture. Often we are so overinvolved in maths, science, reading and the academic arts that we neglect to mention and focus on the wealth of enrichment and enhancement that is also available, and which should be devoured as readily as a good meal in a good restaurant in Munich !

This is certainly a time for reflection and a time for reaching out to each other to share thoughts on accomplishments, and issues to be examined over the next ten years- perhaps with a different slant, perhaps from a different perspective. For, as the world turns, so do our perceptions of the gifted and talented. We still rely on intelligence tests, but perhaps have overlooked the realm of motivation. We still use achievement tests, but perhaps should investigate the realms of appreciation. I was recently at the Louvre in Paris, and saw throngs upon throngs of people hovering around the Mona Lisa.

Certainly the Mona Lisa is an important painting and one that should be revered, but I wandered away from the Mona Lisa and found a treasure trove of other artwork, by other artists, in different realms of art, and depicting different aspects of this thing that we call humanity. We should indeed be reflecting on the humanities at this time when there is so much strife in so many parts of the world and take note of the damage being done to certain historical sites- that need to be preserved for future generation.

And we should perhaps be reflecting more on the social and emotional and motivational needs of gifted children- as so many are not getting challenged, or nurtured or mentored at the current time. And of course there are still a great many children and adolescents that are not being screened, tested or evaluated.

And lastly, we have those adults- those adults who may be underemployed ( due to whatever reason ), under the weather ( depressed because their skills and abilities are not being optimally used ) and underachievers ( because they have no outlets for their particular talents ) .

So, to paraphrase Charles Dickens, " it was the age of celebration, it was an age of reflection, and this is a time for reassessment " as to where we are and where we are going and what we plan to do for the rest of this decade, and where we should be applying our own skills, talents and abilities over the next seven years.

Hopefully, maybe there will be a conference on these or other topics in Munich, Germany in the very near future.

It is time to visit Machtlfingerstr. 26 in Bavaria !