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’09 TAGT: Parent Perspective “Create Your Own Story”

December 10, 2009

Comments by Tracy Fisher

Change Your Story, Change Your Life – Stephanie Tolan (gifted writer) – what I heard… – Tracy Fisher
As a child she:

• Was annoying and fast
• Was talkative
• Grew bored in school, finished early and invented stories in her head…
• Corrected teachers (felt it was her moral obligation)
• Demonstrated all five of Dabrowski’s intensities – Over-excitabilities
• Showed “Intensitivity” (intense and sensitive/emotional)

She loved to read and was amazed that books (just paper with black marks) could create such wonderful characters. She began writing at 9 yrs old and was certain she would be a writer.

As she grew older she began to get more depressed and was a pessimist. Nothing ever worked out, the line she would stand in would always end up being the longest line, etc. To cope, she wrote books for kids that always offered hope.

She made living and story connections in Welcome to the Arc – a book that some describe as science fiction – which is about profoundly gifted children who were able to communicate telepathically with one another, really. Profoundly gifted kids appear to most people as unreal – they do things that are unbelievable, such as speaking in sentences at 6 mos, reading at two, etc.

She asks kids when she meets with them: How many have read a book and were sad when it ended – just marks on a page?

Surviving the Applewhites (2003 Newbery Honor Book)

Where were the applewhites before they were in the book?
They were in your imagination.
Where does imagination come from?

Authors have a great sense of power and understand about “free will.”

We ALL tell stories…everyday. She used the example of the freak snow storm in Houston the morning of her talk. We can tell a story, “I’m never going to get home, I’ll be stuck for hours…etc.” Or “I’m so glad I’m inside and warm. What a gift. I’m sure things will go well for me today…”

Change your story, change your experience.

“Nothing exists in reality that didn’t first exist in the mind.”

Minds are thought of as in the head/brain…

The mind resides throughout body…scientists have learned

Brain is organic equivalent to technology…

Is the music in the radio?
Radio waves…

There are cultural mindsets.

Consciousness –

Listen to the stories you tell about yourself…

Say instead, “I have what I need.”

World is worse for GT kids today.


So, let these GT kids know they are the Heroes of their own stories.

“I’m always going to get beat up, picked on…”

How they feel about themselves is critical.

Read her article “The Problem of Pain”

“Lord of the Rings” is one of her favorite stories

It had meaning (save middle earth) – hero of story… Fellowship of others to protect them. Gallum is a villian, Froto can’t give up ring, Gallum does it…he was needed.

Need conflict for a story…

Cinderella – changes her story… Magic happens when you’re determined enough (not really a fairy godmother).

How much power exists in every hero in every story.

It’s up to the story teller…

Imagination is extremely malleable

Pollyanna has much more fun…(optimist)

Kids are better able to change their story… Tell them to, “Take responsibility for your own story.” Feel better, not rotten

Get an Easy Button from Staples

I can do this!

Lie down if you’re exhausted… Then get up and keep going. Heroes don’t quit.

We’re not here to hit holes in one… We build hazards in golf courses. We need conflicts, makes it interesting…

You are not accidental. Everyone is a part of existence.
Existence needs you. Without you something will be missing in existence and nobody can replace it.


Comments from Amanda O’Neal

Wow…Stephanie Tolan’s talk was amazingly inspirational!!  Here’s some of the highlights from what she said:

Magic happens when you are creative enough to conjure it up (as in Cinderella).  How much power exists in every hero?  The amount they will allow themselves to have.

Kids find changing thier own story easier than adults.  Tell them to take responsibilities for thier own mental challenges.  Most of our stories are relatively dysfunctional.  So that’s life!  Change your story.  The better you feel about something, the better you will do.  Reality is amazingly maleable.

There is nothing that exists in reality that did not first exist in the mind (ex: electricity). Our mind is an organic living version of our technology.  Can you take apart a radio and find the music in it?  The mind exists all aroud us like the music in the radio.

Begin listening to the stories you tell yourself and your gifted kids.  Let kids know they are the heros and the writers of thier own story.  Don’t have them sit at a desk and wait for education to come to them.  Help them find what they need (learning on thier own or online).  Use school to learn social skills.  Don’t let the story be that they are a victim of a system not built for them. 

Tolan’s recommended readings for kids: “Welcome to the Ark” – Highly and profoundly gifted kids related well to it.  It’s about real children with IQs over 200.  It’s not science fiction.  It’s about children she observed and they could actually do the things they do in the book (like talk to each other without talking). 

Here’s what Tolan closed with: You are not accidental. Existence needs you.  Without you, something will be missing in existence and nothing can replace it.

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