+
upworthy
Family

Dad asks if he's wrong for telling his daughter she's not 'gifted.' People let him have it.

“Putting your daughter down served no positive purpose."

parenting, gifted program, early colleges, dads and daughters
Canva, Reddit

Sometimes we should think before we speak

Sure, there are inherent problems that come from assigning children with the label “gifted," among them being the constant pressure to succeed, equating good grades with self-worth, being alienated from peers, and last but not least, having to deal with the psychological whiplash of learning that being “special” doesn’t protect you from real-world problems once school is over.

With that said, are parents doing their high-achieving kids a disservice by calling them “gifted?”

One dad seems to think so…although he may be regretting sharing that perspective.



On Reddit’s Am I The A**hole forum, the dad explained that he and his wife both hold degrees in electrical engineering and have two children—a son, 17, and a daughter, 15.

Their daughter finished high school early and is heading to college at the same time as their son. She’s already chosen to study physics and computer science, while their son hasn’t picked a major yet.


After commending his daughter for her achievements and saying that she had been in the gifted program at her school, the dad goes on to share a dinner conversation that quickly went south.

“My wife mentioned how proud she was of our daughter and how lucky we were to have gifted children going to good university programs and how not many people can do what our daughter did.”

Aw. What a nice mom. Here’s how the dad responded.

via GIPHY

“I was also very happy but I said that while (daughter) is really hardworking and smart, I would not say that she is actually gifted and others can't do it if they put in the same amount of work,” he said. “Her school does a lot to try to admit girls into her program, and my wife helped teach her advanced college level math and physics from an earlier age, she didn't naturally pick it up on her own. If anything being a younger applicant with the same credentials probably helped her stand out more for the admissions committee.”

While the dad attests that he was merely trying to avoid the term “gifted” because he had seen how it has “ruined” other people’s lives, his intentions didn’t exactly pan out.

“Both my wife and daughter are upset at me now, my wife thinks I was trying to put her down which is not true and says she is gifted, while my daughter actually agrees with me but says I should not have said it as she already knows,” he wrote.

And therein lies the OP’s question: was he the jerk in this situation? Did he unrightfully downplay his daughter’s abilities?

According to the folks on Reddit, the answer is unequivocally yes. Not only was the action unnecessary and toxic but it was also deemed as pretty illogical.

via GIPHY

“Putting your daughter down served no positive purpose. Discouraging a young teen like that can have serious detrimental effects. Even if she isn’t actually gifted, you were the asshole,” the top comment read. “That being said, she is gifted. Not every 15-year-old can go to a university to study physics. Not only is she gifted academically, she is gifted with drive and determination. Not everyone has that. And you tried to put her down.”

“The very fact that she was able to pick up calculus at an early age is evidence she is gifted. I’m assuming she was doing calculus at age 12-13 if she’s already going to college for physics. Anyone doing calculus before high school is gifted, she’s several standard deviations higher than the average student," wrote another.

Posts from the amitheasshole
community on Reddit

Several women who worked in STEM also chimed in to point out how the dad’s rhetoric reflected sexism.

One person wrote: “I spent my career as a woman in the sciences and I've been around countless guys like you who are quick to praise their little female 'worker bees' as long as they know their place, but who are incapable of acknowledging when a woman is genuinely exceptional. It's especially heartbreaking that you have managed to erode her awareness of her own gifts to the point where she ‘actually agrees’ with you that she is ‘just’ a hard worker and not really gifted.”

And perhaps the comment to drive it all home:

“The horrible part here is that this message is coming from the girl's own father. He should be her biggest fan, not her harshest critic."

Parents want to do what’s best for their kids—setting them up for the highest success while protecting them from potential danger. But sometimes that objective gets warped by a parent’s own limited viewpoint. Hopefully, other parents can take this story as a reminder that when their kids are excelling, knocking them down a peg doesn’t really do them any favors.

Innovation

A student accidentally created a rechargeable battery that could last 400 years

"This thing has been cycling 10,000 cycles and it’s still going." ⚡️⚡️

There's an old saying that luck happens when preparation meets opportunity.

There's no better example of that than a 2016 discovery at the University of California, Irvine, by doctoral student Mya Le Thai. After playing around in the lab, she made a discovery that could lead to a rechargeable battery that could last up to 400 years. That means longer-lasting laptops and smartphones and fewer lithium ion batteries piling up in landfills.

Keep ReadingShow less
Democracy

12 real stories that show why ruthless immigration laws are the wrong move.

Immigration policies that rip families apart are a travesty.


If there's ever been a particularly bad time to be an undocumented immigrant, it's right now.

President Donald Trump, who launched himself into the 2016 presidential race with his support for a multibillion-dollar border wall, has been cracking down on immigration as promised. In addition to tightening border security, he's pledged to remove 2 to 3 million undocumented immigrants "immediately." And he appears to be keeping his word.

Deportation is nothing new, but Trump's plans are unprecedented. Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images.

It's a scary climate we're facing, but unfortunately, it's not just Trump and it's not just America. All over the world, people are more concerned with their countries' borders than seemingly ever before.Nations all over Europe, for example, are tightening up immigration rules and/or ramping up deportations themselves.

Amidst all the noise and rhetoric — every "radical Islamic terrorist" attack that gets waved about by politicians with something that eerily resembles pride, every horrific crime committed by white Americans that's met with deafening silence, every press conference faux pas — there are real people and real families being ripped apart in the name of patriotism.

Their stories are terrifying and heart-wrenching, but they're massively important.

1. A DREAMer gave a powerful speech about deportation. Moments later, she was arrested.

Daniela Vargas, who has lived in the U.S. since she was 7 years old, spoke at a news conference in Jackson, Mississippi, about the importance of the DREAM Act, which aims to help immigrant children who have lived in the U.S. for more than five years and graduated high school receive permanent legal status.

After the event, Vargas and a friend were pulled over and arrested by immigration agents.

2. A Sri Lankan student studying in North Wales was saved from deportation only by a last ditch effort hours before her flight.

Shiromini Satkunarajah, an electrical engineering student at Bangor University, was nearly sent back to Sri Lanka earlier this year. Despite having lived in the U.K. since she was 12 and being only three months shy of graduation, Satkunarajah was only allowed to stay after receiving an outpouring of community support.

3. A woman living in Great Britain was sent back to Singapore without being allowed to say goodbye to her husband and two children.

Irene Clennell had lived in the U.K. since 1988 but was abruptly sent back to Singapore after having her indefinite leave to remain revoked. Clennell is married and has two children with her husband but was not afforded the chance to see them one last time.

4. A mom living in Phoenix was sent back to Mexico. Her children would later face Trump as he addressed a joint session of Congress for the first time.

Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos' children were reportedly in attendance as Trump addressed Congress. Photo by Jim Lo Scalzo/AFP/Getty Images.

Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos was sent back to Mexico in January this year for having a criminal record. Her crime? Working under the table to provide for her young children.

5. A beloved restaurant manager in a deep-red town in Illinois was arrested, and now the community is reeling.

Most of the people in West Frankfort, Illinois, voted for Trump. They never thought anything would happen to Juan Carlos Hernandez Pacheco, the friendly restaurant manager who seemed have done at least one kind deed for everyone in the community. Now, he's been detained by ICE and is currently waiting to find out if he'll be sent back to Mexico.

6. A Kuwaiti man and father of two living in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on the other hand, was miraculously spared from deportation because it would cause his family too much hardship.

Yousef Ajin has lived in the United States for 18 years with his wife, with whom he has four children. He reportedly met with immigration officers frequently, but on Jan. 30, 2017, he was suddenly detained.

In February, a judge granted a deportation waiver in order to spare Ajin's family from hardship. Many other immigrants aren't so lucky.

7. One man was caught trying to cross the border and returned to Tijuana. He appears to have jumped to his death shortly after.

The man, Guadalupe Olivas Valencia, had reportedly worked in the U.S. before to provide for his family back home before being deported multiple times. Caught trying to enter the country once again, he seemingly decided jumping from a bridge was his only option.

8. A single mother in California was sent back to Mexico, leaving her two young children in peril.

Photo by Jose Cabezas/AFP/Getty Images.

On Feb. 7, María Robles-Rodríguez was nabbed by U.S. Border Patrol and sent back to Mexico, leaving her twin 18-year-old daughters to fend for themselves.

9. Gay men being deported from Britain to Afghanistan are being told to pretend they're straight.

The British government's advice to gay men being sent home to Afghanistan, where they can be freely persecuted for their sexual orientation? Just don't act gay and everything will be fine!

Seriously.

10. Jose Escobar was detained after a routine meeting with immigration officers. He's a husband and father of three.

Escobar, who has lived in the United States for 16 years, had a deportation scare a few years back but was told he'd be safe if he checked in with immigration agents every year. Only this year, an agent reportedly told his wife, "We're just doing what President Trump wants us to do with the new rules."

Escobar will likely soon be deported.

11. A Mexican man living in Idaho was deported. His wife and the mother of his children could be next.

Tomas Copado ran his own auto body shop in Idaho Falls until he was sent back to Mexico earlier this year. His wife, for the sake of their children, recently had her own deportation deferred.

For now.

12. Some undocumented immigrants may be deported to Mexico even if they're not from there.

Photo by John Moore/Getty Images.

According to several reports, the Department of Homeland Security plans to send anyone who crosses illegally over the southern border of the U.S. back to Mexico, even though they may be citizens of another country.

Needless to say, this is horrendous and possibly in violation of international law.

Statue of LibertyPhoto by Guzmán Barquín on Unsplash

Every modern nation needs smart, empathetic paths to citizenship. Any immigration policy that tramples on human rights and rips families apart is a travesty.

It's time to bust the narrative that foreigners primarily come to our country — or any country — to do harm. They come mostly to find opportunity, to escape persecution, or to be with family.

If we can't come to see them as human beings rather than inanimate outsiders, finding the money to pay for a giant wall will be the very least of our problems.


This article originally appeared on 03.02.17

Keep ReadingShow less
Education

A teen student delivered a masterclass on the true history of the Confederate flag

Christopher Justice broke it down into incredible details most of us probably weren't even aware of.

Six years ago, a high school student named Christopher Justice eloquently explained the multiple problems with flying the Confederate flag. A video clip of Justice's truth bomb has made the viral rounds a few times since then, and here it is once again getting the attention it deserves.

Justice doesn't just explain why the flag is seen as a symbol of racism. He also explains the history of when the flag originated and why flying a Confederate flag makes no sense for people who claim to be loyal Americans.

But that clip, as great as it is, is a small part of the whole story. Knowing how the discussion came about and seeing the full debate in context is even more impressive.

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

Video shows how Gummy Bears are made in reverse

You’ll never look at a gummy bear the same way again.

Photo by Amit Lahav on Unsplash

Another type go gummy... Gummy Bears.

The first gummy bears were created in the 1920s by Hans Riegel, owner of the Haribo candy company in Bonn, Germany. Since, gummy candies have become popular worldwide and evolved to take the shapes of fish, sour patch kids, frogs, worms, and just about anything a clever candy maker can imagine.

But unlike the popular Disney '80s "Gummi Bears" cartoon, these sweet little guys don't come from a hollow tree in the forest. Sadly, their creation is a bit more terrifying.

Keep ReadingShow less
Education

The very real story of how one woman prevented a national tragedy by doing her job

Frances Oldham Kelsey believed thorough research saves lives. She was so right.

Image by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Dr. Frances Oldham Kelsey and President John F. Kennedy.

True
Seventh Generation


Dr. Frances Oldham Kelsey had only been with the Food and Drug Administration for about a month when she was tasked with reviewing a drug named thalidomide for distribution in America.

Marketed as a sedative for pregnant women, thalidomide was already available in Canada, Germany, and several African countries.

Keep ReadingShow less
Photo by Long Truong on Unsplash
woman in white sleeveless dress kissing man in blue dress shirt


"It may be the most important thing we do in life; learn how to love and be loved."

At least, that's according to Harvard psychologist and researcher Rick Weissbourd.

He's been collecting data on the sex and love habits of young people for years through surveys, interviews, and even informal conversation — with teens and the important people in their lives.

Through it all, one thing has been abundantly clear:

"We spend enormous amount of attention helping parents prepare their kids for work and school," Weissbourd says. "We do almost nothing to prepare them for the tender, tough, subtle, generous, focused work of developing mature healthy relationships. I'm troubled by that."

Keep ReadingShow less