Most people think of balance as being “all things in moderation” but the balance for a gifted child may be going completely wholehog (as we say in Illinois) into their latest passion. I was so relieved the first time I heard it was okay to have a passion for something. It made sense, of course, when I thought about Picasso or Beethoven. However, gifted individuals can get lots of negative feedback if they only have one topic to talk about, or if they are talking about some phenomenon that occurs in space because of an advanced physics concept. Being intense is the nature of gifted people. Expecting them to conform to outside expectations is a disappointment waiting to happen. Giving them time to do what they want does not usually result in boredom.
In my experience, boredom usually occurred when my children were tired or not feeling well. If they said they were bored, I would tell them to take a nap. No one is ever bored when they wake up from a nap. This is, of course, in the summer when they are not confined to a single room for hours. In summer school this year, I have had some students express feelings of boredom. I wasn’t sure if it was tiredness, a lack of interest in the projects, or just peer pressure (think middle school). I gave them choices and didn’t hear any complaints, even if one of the choices was “Do you just want to watch others?”
In the school my children attended their first few years, there was no gifted program. I was so worried about one child being bored, I took in a stack of things for him to do if he got done with the schoolwork early. Unfortunately, he was too social for that. He got up and talked to others when he was done. Luckily for him, his teacher didn’t mind. The previous year, his teacher had folders of fun activities to do if he was done with required work. My favorite was to research about Hersey’s chocolate. He got to eat a chocolate bar when he finished it.
What can you do if your child is telling you he/she is bored? I have found it often doesn’t help to list off things you think they might like to do. Perhaps asking them what they would like to do might help. If they can’t come up with anything, a walk outside might refresh and get oxygen flowing to the brain. One of the most effective ways to get my children to find another activity was to ask them to help me with mine.
My children are grown and gone now. My task is to keep myself from being bored. Down time actually helps my creativity. A period of rest from any activity usually gives me a bank of ideas to draw on, whether it’s writing, quilting, reading or cooking. When I begin again, I am refreshed and full of energy for the task at hand. This blog post is part of the Hoagies Gifted Blog Hop. Click on the link below to see the other posts.