Your Rainforest Mind

Support for the Excessively Curious, Creative, Smart & Sensitive

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


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.

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 rainforest to describe this population. Like the rainforest, 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 first 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. My second book, Journey Into Your Rainforest Mind: A Field Guide for Gifted Adults and Teens, Book Lovers, Overthinkers, Geeks, Sensitives, Brainiacs, Intuitives, Procrastinators, and Perfectionists, was released in June 2019.

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

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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 6 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.

      Liked by 1 person

    • 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.


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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 2 people

    • 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.

      Liked by 1 person

    • 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.

      Liked by 1 person

    • 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 2 people

  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 3 people

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

    Liked by 2 people

  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 2 people

  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 2 people

    • 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.

      Liked by 1 person

    • 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 2 people

  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 3 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 2 people

  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 2 people

    • 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 2 people

  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 2 people

  18. Having to wait for all the other kids before I could move on was excruciating! I was always in trouble for talking, which was beyond ridiculous, there was nothing else to do! Diagnosed adhd as an adult, I didnt have the ability to do nothing quietly as a child. Especially when I loved information, new ideas, new concepts, puzzles, “challenges”, etc…and I started school at 4…I never really saw myself as smart, I was told I was but it never felt like a good thing, usually felt like disappointment because it really meant I was not going to be challenged and would, as always, wait for the class. Unfortunately, I eventually tuned out, you get used to being bored and accept that school is just that! I had an unstable home life, a single mom who couldnt and still cant seem to get her s*** together, we moved a lot, which I loved, I get bored with people really quickly and I was always excited to go to a new school, meet new people, and not have to wait. By the 6th grade I completely lost interest in school, still did really well, but didn’t advocate for myself, didn’t know how to or that I could, and no one else at home did…fast forward to graduating high school. Had no idea what I wanted to do, took a year off to figure it out, didn’t figure it out and didn’t want to waste any more time, enrolled in a large JC in San Diego, loved philosophy, most of the rest bored me, took some psychology classes because the subject matter is fascinating, it was waaaay too simple I could not stick wth that…truly stumbled upon my profession, by chance or fate maybe, transfered to UCLA into their Interior Architecture program and never looked back. For the first time, I felt my mind open to endless opportunities, I loved every minute of it, did exceptionally well thanks to top notch instructors. This was the learning experience I craved as a child, the thrill of new ideas and possibilities! I could work at my own speed, didn’t have to wait on anyone, no limits! I miss those days! I miss feeling inspired, while I truly love what I do, I have to be challenged or I lose interest. Overcoming boredom is a serious struggle, whether its people or projects. My second son, who is 9, is my clone. In.every.way. It’s shocking how much alike we are. Knowing first hand how frustrating school can be when your not challenged, I have been a staunch advocate for him. After 1 year in our public school gifted program, which is the best in the state, I pulled him out and put him in a private gifted only school. It’s a better fit by far even though it ends up costing me about 20k a year! Irks me that public schools are so antiquated, teaching to state mandated tests, political agendas run amok! I border ENTP and INTP, so the bureaucracy, rigidity and inefficiency of public schooling, especially elementary, drives me insane! I’m not even going to go down that rabbit hole. Bye Felicia!

    Liked by 3 people

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  20. I identify so much with this. I started public school two years ago in 5th grade (I’m now in 7th) and it was like I had reached a whole different world. When homeschooling, I could ask about the difference between mind and brain and my dad would delve in deeply to the subject with me. I could ask why plants were green and my mother would elaborately explain the way chloroplasts work. Now I’m stuck doing the same exercises in math over and over again, and being told to “just hang on until high school when you can do honors and AP classes.” I don’t want to wait! I’m not satisfied with that! I want to learn these things now. I’m ready! I can understand, if anyone would just be willing to listen and explain. Last year in 6th grade I was bored to tears 2 out of 5 days every week and this year it’s even worse. Thank you so much for posting this, for making this blog. It’s incredibly important to give gifted children the material they need and not enough people realize that.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m so glad you’re here, Bethany. Maybe you can find a teacher who sees how bright you are, who will help you design a program that will meet your needs. Or a school counselor? Your parents could step in and help set up a hybrid plan. Maybe some time in school and some in online classes or independent study. You shouldn’t have to just sit and wait. Look for my posts on school and you’ll see some suggestions you can try.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you. 🙂 You have awesome suggestions. We’be been looking at some alternate schooling options for a while, now. The guidance counselors are extremely unhelpful though.

        Liked by 1 person

      • So, update. I was able to go to a STEM private K-8 school for my 8th grade year (the year following the year I posted the original comment). It was extremely expensive but I was able to get in on a full scholarship. It’s been an incredible experience and I’ve grown so much. I’m going back to our public schools for High School, and I’m looking into taking several classes above my grade level. I’ll be able to at least take 10th grade French, and possibly (hopefully) English and Science as well. I plan to take everything in Honors that I can. I think I’ll always wonder what might have been if I had been given the proper education from the get-go, but having a public school experience is important to me too. I’ve made so many friends and had so many opportunities. I think I’d miss it if I went back to homeschooling. Thank you so much for this blog! I was in a really dark place last year and this place was a reprieve from that. It felt like, “wow! Someone else actually understands!”

        Liked by 1 person

        • Oh! Thank you for the update, Bethany. So glad you had a great 8th grade. I hope that your school will accommodate your needs. Find a teacher advocate who gets you and will support your desire for a real education. Your enthusiasm ought to help. You made my day, telling me how my blog has helped you!!


    • I hate to break it to you, but honors and AP classes probably aren’t going to be any better. 😦

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well, I certainly hope not. Our local High School is actually pretty good (it’s our middle school that sucks) and I’m going to be able to take classes above my grade level too.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Good to hear from you, Bethany. Glad you are still here. It sounds like Faith has not had a good experience but don’t give up. Keep speaking out. Let your parents help. With the corona virus, it’s going to add a whole new challenge. You might still need to create a hybrid program, especially now. What you create can benefit other gifted kids!


  21. Imagine that. Having to wait is directly linked to pain. It’s linked with mental illness as well. Having others make empty promises can lead to trust issues and eventually isolation and depression. Your sense of worth is shaken.

    Liked by 2 people

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  23. I am way behind reading this but it speaks to me. My children go to a very small school. When my oldest son was in kindergarten and was doing multiplication and division at home and we asked for him to have advanced math over one to one correspondence counting and had resistance. I am a special education teacher so know my rights and requested testing. They thought I was crazy but when In kindergarten he passed the cumulative second grade math test independently with flying colors I will never forget the principal running to my classroom “he did it – all by himself – I didn’t read it to him – I didn’t help him “. I was happy she believed me now but mad it took that. He has sense been taking math two grade levels above his peers. It is still tough and I start prepping the next years teachers in April.
    Then …. my next daughter in first grade showed many higher level skills and I mentioned requesting gifted testing I got BIG pushback. I have been asked MANY times “please don’t request”. I have been promised what they will do. They did some testing of their own and she at end of first grade independently passed end of second grade math test and tests at reading 6th grade level. I had to then request they gave her the third grade math test. They did so the second to last day of school and were shocked she didn’t pass it. Seriously there is one day of school left – all her peers are having recess and watching a movie and she knows it.

    Crazy but they would rather have kids who struggle cause they can send them off for ‘help’.

    Thanks for listening. I need to find a local support system for me and my babies.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, Jennifer, try and find a local support system. There are also Facebook groups now for parents of gifted kids. Parenting Gifted Children and Hoagies Gifted Education Page are two of them. Sending you a hug!


  24. That exact thing happened to me. In fourth grade, I got the English workbook. I thought it was that night’s homework so I took it home and finished it that night. Turns out that was supposed to be for the whole year. My teacher was not happy. That continued all the way through college, which I didn’t finish (to my regret) because I was impatient and bored and annoyed my professors to the point where it was hellish for me. I wish I hadn’t, because now I’m totally cut off from opportunities to encounter interesting minds in any sort of reliable way.

    Liked by 1 person

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