Your Rainforest Mind

Support For The Excessively Curious, Creative, Smart & Sensitive

Imagine a World Where Gifted Kids Don’t Have to Wait

175 Comments

Photography by Servando from Flickr cc

Photography by Servando from Flickr cc

It all started in first grade when you eagerly finished the entire workbook in one night. You thought your teacher would be pleased. She was not pleased. You were told to sit and color the pictures and WAIT until the other first graders caught up with you.

Then there was the time they were teaching addition and you had been doing complicated calculations in your head since you were four. You were told to WAIT. You were too young to learn fractions.

When you were eleven, you were dying to read The Autobiography of Malcolm X but you were told to WAIT. That was the book everyone was required to read in high school.

When you scored in the 99th percentile in reading and math and could easily work two years above grade level, it was decided that you shouldn’t skip a grade. You needed to WAIT until you were more emotionally and socially mature, even though you were capable of contributing confidently to discussions with your parents’ friends.

You wanted to know about death and God. You were told to WAIT until you were a grownup because you wouldn’t understand.

You’re still waiting.

Your colleagues at work take hours to conclude what you knew last week.

Your boss wants you to calm down and slow down and not share your ideas just yet. Maybe next week.

You’ve completed all of your assigned work for the day and it’s only 1pm.

Your supervisor says she’ll get back to you with the answers to your questions. She never does.

You’ve learned everything you can about your job and now the tasks are frustrating and boring.

You wonder when you can share the fascinating article you read in the New Yorker while friends talk about recipes and reality TV.

You have so much to say about so many things but you have to find the right time to speak so that you don’t overwhelm your partner, friends, relatives, children and pets with your enthusiasm, sensitivities and ideas. (Well, OK, maybe your pets aren’t overwhelmed.)

Waiting. Waiting. Waiting.

In his book, The Boy Who Played With Fusion, Tom Clynes wrote:

Waiting was the most common response when Tracy Cross of the college of William and Mary asked thirteen thousand kids in seven states to describe in one word their experience as gifted children.”

Thirteen thousand kids. Waiting.

Imagine a world where gifted kids don’t have to wait. A world where you can be yourself. Imagine the possibilities.

I want to live in that world.

_______________________________

To my blogEEs: Tell us about the times that you or your kids have had to wait. What was it like? How did you cope? And for the skeptics among you, I understand that patience is important and there are times when we all need to wait. And, yet. This is about WAITING. You know what I’m talkin’ about. And thank you, as always, for reading and sharing.

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Author: Paula Prober

I'm a psychotherapist and consultant in private practice in Eugene, Oregon. I specialize in counseling gifted adults and consulting with parents of gifted children. The label "gifted" is often controversial and confusing. I use the metaphor of the rain forest to describe this population. Like the rain forest, these individuals are quite complex, highly sensitive, intense, multi-layered, and misunderstood. They're also curious, idealistic, highly intelligent, creative, perfectionistic, and they love learning. I've been an adjunct instructor at the University of Oregon and a guest presenter at Oregon State University and Pacific University. I've written articles on giftedness for the Eugene Register-Guard, the Psychotherapy Networker, and Advanced Development Journal. My book, Your Rainforest Mind: A Guide to the Well-Being of Gifted Adults and Youth, was released in June 2016 by GHF Press and is available on Amazon or at your independent bookstore.

175 thoughts on “Imagine a World Where Gifted Kids Don’t Have to Wait

  1. Pingback: Words You SHOULD Say to Your Child’s Teacher | Through a Stronger Lens

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  3. This is why my mother thought I was so impatient. I spent so much time waiting for everyone else to catch up.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is so familiar to me… I have sometimes used a metaphor comparing myself to an athlete who had been told her entire childhood not to run so fast because it would make everybody else feel bad. How was I ever supposed to learn to run properly under those circumstances, let alone train at my full potential?

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thanks for the metaphor, Seonald. That’s a good one. No one would ever tell an athlete to slow down because others will feel bad. Nice to hear from you.

      Like

    • That is what the deep evil is. They don’t want you to ever. They want you to bow to them to be their servant. To use your skills and abilities as a servant to the wicked. At least that is what happened to me.

      Like

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  7. This is why we homeschooled – it gave the kids the gift of time. Not time to wait, but time to read, to learn, to explore, time to discuss, time to move on!

    My first grade teacher told me not to “show off” by pretending to read. I had been reading stories to my younger sister for at least three years, maybe 4. My mother checked out books for me each week at the library because they wouldn’t give me a library card until I was 7 years old, and we were checking out “Nancy Drew” and “Tom Swift” and “Hardy Boys” and “Box Car Children” – six books at a time, and by the end of the week I was antsy because I was out of reading material. Not to “show off” by writing my name in cursive (“You will learn how to do that properly next year”). Not to ask those questions that the other kids did not understand.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m so glad that you could homeschool your kids so they wouldn’t have to experience what you went through. Thank you for sharing.

      Like

    • I’m homeschooling one of mine this year and that was her comment in the first week. “I don’t have to wait!” I feel so lucky, blessed and happy to be able to do this with her. On the flip side I can relate to those teachers who are dealing with twenty different students at a time with varying levels of ability. However, I never held my students back and tried to give them enrichment projects or options to do other things if they had moved on beyond the rest of the class. Harder to keep track of, but much happier students are a result.

      Like

    • Yes! That is our main reason for homeschooling our kids too. They spend so little time on what would be regarded as proper schooling in a public schoolsetting, and have loads of opportunities to explore and creative investigate. It really is a privaledge!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I finished the reading section of the 9th grade proficiency test and went to turn it in. The teacher told me it was “impossible” for me to be done and to go back and check my answers. I had no idea what “check my answers” meant — why would I redo what I had already done? Also, I had already started to learn that when I was unsure and second guessed and changed an answer on a test, I usually ended up being wrong with my first answer being correct.

    From K-12, I literally thought the purpose of school was to complete work so I could read or draw. I never learned to study, or work hard, until college when I was able to choose what I studied and realize the satisfaction of diving deep into a subject and actually learning. My entire education up until that point was waiting – reading and drawing, which was fine with me because those were my interests. I realize now that I could have done and learned so much more if I’d had the chance.

    Liked by 2 people

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  10. Thank you. This is how my son describes school. He’s pretty frustrated.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I don’t know where I’ve been that I’ve managed to miss out on RFM blog and Paula Prober. I’m raising an RFM. I don’t know if I am RFM myself, but my teenage daughter absolutely is/has multipotentiality (not like it’s a diagnosis) and it has been a significant priority for us to guide and accelerate her as appropriate. In the rural school setting we faced resistance from the very early start of school… wait, wait, wait, no, wait, no. We changed schools which helped a bit for a little while, then wait and no. Finally independent testing provided the evidence and after meetings upon meetings we achieved acceleration in math. The artistic and verbal sides have been my responsibility. Thankfully we’ve had a few options with resources, but I don’t know what people do if things are limited long term. I can say that now that we have accelerated her and she is in an urban district with opportunities galore, more people closer to her situation, and cream of the crop teachers things are much more calm and “normalized” (dare I use the word). I’d love a world in which these beautiful minds with lovely hearts and vast abilities and curiosities are nurtured, respected, and recognized from early years when resources can be earmarked to meet their needs. I’m glad for your page and blog now that I’ve found it.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I used to draw pictures while waiting for other kids at school. At that time I thought they were regular, but now looking back the drawing were amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. In kindergarten, I already knew how to read. I was bored. In first grade, I loved my teacher, but I already knew everything she taught. In second grade, I spent a lot of time sitting by myself in the hall during reading time doing my own work in some books my teacher provided for me — I’m not sure why I couldn’t stay in the classroom. I had the mumps at the beginning of third grade. I was out of school for two weeks and finished my entire language arts workbook. My teacher was quite upset. In fourth grade, they used SRA spelling. A friend and I were taking the placement test and were eventually told we had to stop the test because we were so close to completely testing out of spelling that the teacher wouldn’t have had anything to keep us busy during spelling time. In fifth grade, I went to the sixth grade room for language arts, but only if the teacher was doing a project that she wasn’t planning on doing the following year. I also ended up in a math class that was far too easy — the teacher told me I couldn’t subtract five from three, even though I insisted it was -2 — he told me later that day that even though I was right, the rest of the class wasn’t ready for that. I could go on and on.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, Stephanie. I’m so sorry. This is a great example of what I’m writing about and what has to change. Thank for you being here and for speaking up.

      Like

    • This is very much like the experience we are having with our son. He has now become very negative about school and after being targeted but teachers and students has become very angry and anxious. We are struggling. I have been to meeting after meeting to get his needs met but we are yet to see this happen.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Hi,

    Worse than waiting, is not being allowed to do something else while waiting.
    At 35, i look back and see myself spending 25 of those in prison.
    Now, i procrastinate as much as i can….having grown acostumed to the prison rules of having to spend copious amounts of time adding up to nothing.
    At least we have the internet for the greatest gilt trips of procrastination.

    thanks for listening to my rant and creating a blog where i can procrastinate and learn from others for a while 🙂

    have a good one.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Wow…. This is exactly what my oldest son went through in public school. It was terrible. One time in 2nd grade he was reprimanded for reading because he had finished the daily work. Reading was disturbing to the other students! In 5th grade he was told to wait until 6th grade to go ahead in math. That was in September of that school year. He waited year after year.
    Over a decade later when it happened again with my youngest son, I finally realized I could do something and I took him out of public school. He’s been homeschooled now for three years and no more waiting! I’m so sorry I missed that opportunity with my oldest.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. So glad I found this post. This is exactly what my 1st grade daughter is going through and I truly feel bad that she always has to wait for her classmates to catch up. It’s really frustrating for her to get reprimanded all the time for not listening during class. Teachers report that she doesn’t pay attention, she draws, writes messages, and disturbs her classmates during class and tests. When I asked her about it, she said it’s because it’s a repeat lesson from long time ago. She quickly absorbs facts and I wish they can advance her to 2nd or 3rd grade but she’s only 6yrsold. So we have no choice but to wait. It’s sad and we feel helpless. I really wish there are other options for parents who can’t homeschool..

    Liked by 1 person

    • So sorry to hear this, Jing. There are more posts here about kids and school. If you type school or schooling into the search engine, you’ll be able to find them. There are also parenting groups on Facebook that provide support for parents of gifted kids. One is Parenting Gifted Children. I’m glad you found my blog!

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Because I could back then, I started school at age 5 (in 1972). Although there was no mandatory pre-school nor kindergarten and so I didn’t attend, I felt like things went too slowly through nearly all of my formal education with the exception of math (I am woefully deficient there—or was). Everything mentioned in the above blog has happened to me except, as I said, for the fractions/math, which I realize is simply an example. Please, whatever we do, we can’t hold the gifted children back. They will need each other when we’re gone.

    Liked by 1 person

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