There is so much more to life than academic learning. I have been studying creativity this year on my blog, Wallin’s Wave, and I am always amazed at how much of life is made up of routines. If it were just routines that met our needs, we would all be happy most of the time. What brings great joy into our lives is change; changing stimulation to be precise. The more gifted a person is, the greater their need for stimulation that is challenging. “An extreme need for constant mental stimulation is one important difference.” (1)
In addition, Lovecky notes, “The thought processes of extraordinarily gifted children tend to be more complex than those of other gifted children. “ This can become a problem when our children try to establish a relationship with same-age peers. My son’s best friend said my son’s problem was that he was too smart. He could explain that he was always thinking too much and that caused problems. Luckily, for my son, there was a gifted program in our school district that did meet his needs.
Finally Lovecky writes, “Exceptionally gifted children usually show early and unusual perceptiveness about issues and other people.” To those who have a sensitive and caring nature, such events as school massacres, war scenes, weather catastrophes, and death can cause crippling anxiety. Parents need to help students find a way to contribute to the healing and feel reassured that they will be safe most of the time.
With such intense needs, parents can feel overwhelmed and under-prepared. I have posted before about the traits of a healthy family (https://lwallin.wordpress.com/2017/01/09/intelligence-and-emotions/). For my family, there were many traits of giftedness: perfectionism, “unusual alertness, even in infancy, rapid learner; puts thoughts together quickly, excellent memory, unusually large vocabulary and complex sentence structure for age, advanced comprehension of word nuances, metaphors and abstract ideas, enjoys solving problems, especially with numbers and puzzles, often self-taught reading and writing skills as preschooler, deep, intense feelings and reactions, highly sensitive, thinking is abstract, complex, logical, and insightful, idealism and sense of justice at early age, concern with social and political issues and injustices, longer attention span and intense concentration, preoccupied with own thoughts—daydreamer, learn basic skills quickly and with little practice, asks probing questions, wide range of interests (or extreme focus in one area), highly developed curiosity, interest in experimenting and doing things differently, puts idea or things together that are not typical, keen and/or unusual sense of humor, desire to organize people/things through games or complex schemas, vivid imaginations (and imaginary playmates when in preschool).” (2)
Without such knowledge, most of us make mistakes in meeting our children’s needs. I thought my first child would be happy rocking in an infant seat while I canned food from the garden. Yeah, for about 10 minutes! Trying to make the second to conform to expectations was not what I should have done either. My third never experienced quiet times without business because, well, third, but also I went back to work half time.
What would I teach them now? To get enough sleep, not take life too seriously, tell others what you need, take time out for just thinking, and follow your bliss, as Joseph Campbell would say. Stand up for yourself. You may or may not enjoy school, but it will teach you how to tolerate boredom, which may occur in your job later. You may or may not have a lot of friends your age, also preparing you for work. Read everything you can about social skills, especially dealing with difficult people. Forgive, forgive, forgive.
This post is part of Hoagies Blog http://www.HoagiesGifted.org/blog_hop_beyond_academics.htm
- Lovecky, D. V., “Hidden gifted learner: The exceptionally gifted child,” Understanding Our Gifted, Open Space Communications. March/April 1992, May/June 1992. http://www.davidsongifted.org/Search-Database/entry/A10130 accessed 2/23/18.
- Common Characteristics of Gifted Individuals, https://www.nagc.org/resources-publications/resources/my-child-gifted/common-characteristics-gifted-individuals, accessed 2/23/18. Reproduced there by permission from: Webb, J., Gore, J., Amend, E., DeVries, A. (2007). A parent’s guide to gifted children.Tuscon, AZ: Great Potential Press, www.greatpotentialpress.com.