Your Rainforest Mind

Support for the Excessively Curious, Creative, Smart & Sensitive

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

191 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.

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.

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

  1. I vividly recall third grade, I was completing entire worksheets of whichever subject we were doing in the time it took the rest of the class to get through the first couple problems. I was asked to sit quietly while everyone else finished. So, I would fall asleep on a regular basis. What sort of recognition did this get me? A referral to a child psychologist because there was obviously something wrong with a child who would fall asleep in the middle of school.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. It would be awesome if we could live in a world where we aren’t always waiting…… My kids started school today, ds who is going to first grade, said wouldn’t it be great if he could start second grade tomorrow….. Poor thing I was like you have to wait, first we have to do this, then, this, then, and jump through this hoop…… Always waiting for the school to do something, and them never doing it.

    I too have always felt like I’m waiting, I sit here typing waiting. I’m tired of waiting!

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Amen! And another, Amen!

    Waiting is frustrating and angering, and it is also emotionally damaging. Dumbing down and underachieving are serious consequential behaviors of gifted kids who are tired of waiting, and these behaviors can last a lifetime.

    Thank you for such a compelling article, Paula! One that needs to be shared and shared.

    Liked by 5 people

  4. I was cast in a light of “caring too much” or “worrying about things that could wait”. It was awful, and totally eroded my confidence. Through your writing, my friends, my healing work and following my career dreams I’m happy to report my confidence is returning to it’s original levels. YES!

    Liked by 4 people

  5. My son has wanted to learn to play guitar since he was 3 years old. I searched for music teachers (including private lessons offered at his elementary school), and many of them said he had to wait until he was 8 years old (with very little reason given as to why). I finally found a music school that will start teaching him now at 6 years old.

    My son has an early fall birthday and was ready for pre-k at age 3/4 and then ready for kindergarten at age 4/5. We tried to enroll him in a private school so he could start kindergarten at age 4/5. They changed their policies just as we were going through the process of enrolling him, and he had to wait another year only because of his birthday not meeting the new cutoff (academic readiness was not assessed, and we were told it would not have been a determining factor). The school said the new cutoff was due to social and emotional concerns that would start to occur around 5th and 6th grade. He is now entering 1st grade and is working 2 grades ahead in most subjects, and we are working with teachers to make sure curriculum is differentiated and he is appropriately challenged (which would be easier to do if he had been allowed to enter a year earlier). I think the real challenges with him having to wait academically have only just begun for us.

    I have many examples of waiting during my own childhood. Usually I would circumvent the waiting by doing what I wanted on my own time in my own way. I was very independent and would quietly create my own learning projects to keep my brain engaged. I hope that my son will be able to do the same if he has to. By the time I got to high school, I had already “checked out” of adhering to the standard system. I started taking community college classes and attending a university during the summer in order to feel the gratification of real learning.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Anna, It’s so important that your son has you for support and understanding. I think a lot of gifted folks find ways to entertain themselves. How many always bring a book wherever they go, just in case??

      Liked by 4 people

    • Anna, As to the guitar lessons…NO ONE will teach guitar to a 3 year old. Learning guitar requires that you develop callouses on your fingers and NO 3 yr old (and very few 6 yr olds) understand that pain is involved in learning to play that instrument. I’m glad you’ve found a teacher who will work with him.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Anna – Thank you for sharing your perspective. My son is a late August birthday and we are in a similar situation. He’s just now 2, but has known his alphabet, letters, sounds, counts to 25 and draws understandable figures since about 18 months. I was a similar toddler and also always waiting when I got older. In all the reading I’ve done I can’t find any support for allowing child to start school at 4/5 because of the emotional and social concerns but I’m quite worried that my son will be bored. I’m sorry the private school route didn’t work for you, that’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot. It seems that it would have been good for your son and I hope that will be an option for us should we want it.

      Liked by 3 people

      • I don’t know if this is an option, but in some places if you homeschool for a year – so you can show that the child has completed kindergarten – they have to take him into 1st grade regardless of age.

        Liked by 2 people

  6. Great post! I’ll send it to Summit Center.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Keeping my son waiting created a depression in him that hit him his freshman year of high school that took us two years to solve. My son said “I was told it would get better in middle school so I waited”, then I was told “high school is where it really counts, you’ll have better opportunities there, so I waited”. My advice to parents who have children being told to ‘wait’ is don’t listen. Follow your instincts, find a school situation that will boost your child and support their curiosity and love of learning. You won’t find support or even useful information from a public school on other options, typically. Be the change for them.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. I remember all the waiting in elementary school. Trying to count things on the walls or make up stories to keep myself entertained. My daughter came home from first or second grade talking about her pencil family she had made to play with inside her desk while waiting for everyone else to be done, every time, on every worksheet. No reading or drawing allowed! Now we homeschool and work at our own pace.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Sometimes, homeschooling is the best choice, if you’re able to do it. (No reading allowed? Wow.)

      Liked by 1 person

      • I had a grandmother tell me that she was so glad her grandson was admitted to the accelerated cluster program as he was wanting to read a library book when he was waiting on others to finish and would get disciplined for it. Really, a school actually penalizing someone for being quiet and reading? I thought we were raising schools of heathens that do not know how to behave?

        Liked by 2 people

        • I remember being in trouble all the time for reading. Now my son has to deal with the same issues. Thankfully, they seem more willing to keep him engaged than in my day.

          Liked by 2 people

  9. My son too always seems to be waiting. He is getting ready to head into first grade. He was told last year when he wanted to do more challenging math…wait until the others catch up, we have to stay together. He was later told when he was ready to move on in reading…He is not going to like missing out on other activities like computers but it’s the only time I can pull him out to work on more challenging reading. This year when I asked if he could join an enrichment activity for older children…he’ll have to wait to years, b/c we feel the discussion topics among older boys might be inappropriate for him. Always waiting!

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Reblogged this on helenjnoble and commented:
    Another great insight from Paula Prober.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Yes! So much waiting (like others, I remember it well!). Unfortunately, my daughter had to do a lot of waiting at school. Thankfully we managed to cut the waiting back by one academic year, via one grade skip. In a sense, I think the waiting might have contributed to my daughter branching off into music and acting since age 9. She ‘stalled’ a bit academically around that time – which is understandable considering she wasn’t going to receive more from the primary school she was at. She is over half way through her first year of high school now. Can’t spell as well as she could at age 5 when she was suddenly astounding at spelling (the regression is a bit odd) and is finally officially being taught maths at an accelerated level – the same level she was assessed to learn via correspondence when she was 9 years old. Dual enrolment with the correspondence school wasn’t for her though; she never really enjoyed herself. My daughter is a social learner I guess you could say.
    All in all perhaps some children forced to wait, develop in ways different to how they might have developed otherwise. This could create a wide range of results, I imagine. I’m also mindful that my daughter has been privileged enough to have access to the extra-curricular activities she loves, and which have proved an outlet for her gifts. She’s been one of the (relatively) lucky ones stuck in this ‘waiting’ situation.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Our elementary school doesn’t offer any advanced academics until 6th grade, and then it’s just math. Our gifted program is exceptional, but it’s only a few hours per week. My children will start 2nd & 4th grades in a couple of weeks. They’re in the gifted program, but are bored the rest of the time. My 2nd grader does multiplication and division, and she’s entering a classroom where they’re supposed to be able to add all numbers up to 20 by the end of the year… My 4th grader told me he didn’t want to do any division over the summer because that’s “what they do” in 4th grade and he “didn’t want to be bored again” in math. Any advice on advocating for advanced academics for my kids? THANK YOU!

    Liked by 2 people

    • As you can see from the comments, this waiting is very common. I tell parents to look for the more sensitive and creative teachers who are more willing to adapt the curriculum, then be the kind but squeaky wheel to get your child in with those teachers. Acceleration is also a great option but school people can be reluctant to do it. Chances of them listening to you are greater if you’re involved at the school and helping out. There are also more and more opportunities for learning online and you could propose some time in school and some time online. There are many parents at http://www.giftedhomeschooling.org who write about how they’ve helped their kids through school or at home. Look for their blogs.

      Like

  13. Third grade is where I really started to understand what I was facing. I remember the SRA program. I just looked it up, and the colors have changed. As I recall, Red was the next-to-top program for 3rd grade in the mid 1960’s, and Gold was the top level. They started me in Red, quickly advanced me to Gold, and then after I’d ripped through Gold, they moved me back to Red to give me “something to do” during “SRA Time”, and finally put me back in Aqua after I’d exhausted Red. I remember how angry I was.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Of course you were angry. It makes no sense to hold our gifted kids back! Thank you for sharing. I remember SRA, too. The idea was, I think, that kids could read at their own pace. Sounds like something went terribly wrong.

      Liked by 1 person

    • We had them too, when I was in 3rd grade (1983–4) but the trouble in my sch. was the teacher ordered me to start at the FAR-too-easy level my reading class was in. I was desperate, so I went at a furious pace, through that yr’s worth, the next, & the next, but never reaching a nearly challenging level. To explain how I got so desperate, I’ll go back to the beginning…

      Taught myself to read at 4, started K at almost 5, given a children’s dictionary (4th-gr. level), around then. But it didn’t have any words I needed to look up. So I asked my mom & she told me to use my dad’s college dictionary. I loved that dictionary so much I studied it, intro., etym., & usage incl’d. But at sch. I was put in 2nd-gr. reading & 1st-gr. math, & still had to have phonics & alphabet lessons! No acceleration allowed. Everything a foregone conclusion. If you played b/c you were bored out of your mind from finishing all work extremely early, there was corporal punishment. Punishment for being an eager learner. Like someone else said, the point of school was to finish work to have a chance to draw or something. It was like prison work. In a Kafkaesque prison. I literally had no idea for the 1st several yrs that school was for learning. It was a Catholic school in name only, & I left as agnostic as I had entered.

      Transferred to public school & only 1 gr. of advancement was allowed so I was ordered to repeat 4th-gr. reading, exact same book I had just completed perfectly, as if I had failed! So I mean really Kafkaesque. Like that red level. I went on strike. That’s how I was so desperate. The sch. taught only about 2 grades’ worth of grammar, no more history than simple American history 17th–19th centuries, almost no literature, & no logic whatsoever. They didn’t even make sure I learned my times tables. Started reading all my parents’ books. (Incl. Brave New World though, & I wish my parents would have kept that 1 locked up, b/c I didn’t know any better. Did a lot of bad stuff over the next couple decades, & I think it was a catalyst.) Brought them to read at sch. in my hrs of free time. My 6th-gr. teacher saw 1 & said I couldn’t possibly understand it! But by high school, my brain had atrophied from under-use. That & college were pretty disastrous.

      Later I made up for some of what I had been deprived of, but I don’t think it’s possible to recover fully. Missed opportunities. Worked extremely hard at jobs but was not rewarded, & quit for good. Am Catholic now no thanks to the shameful Catholic sch. Have children too; 1 (stepson technically) was in public school, 5th gr. Reading apt. test said 11th gr. PLUS. School books were FOURTH-gr. on Lexile. Asked the sch. to give him a properly normed test, & books at his reading level, but they gave me the run-around. It was sickening, & we started homeschooling right away.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, Greta. That all sounds so painful. As you can see here, you’re not alone. It sounds like homeschooling is probably a great gift that you’re giving your son. Thank you for sharing your experiences.

        Liked by 1 person

  14. I have to say that this was not my normal experience as a child (there were other issues to complicate life, but not this one); when I worked out how to do multiplication and division of large numbers while plowing fields (pretty boring…) at the age of 7, my mom/teacher just looked at me like I was from another planet and said “OK”. Being homeschooled because there was no other school anywhere around (not for any religious or cultist reasons) was in my favor on that one.

    Now I have a son who is about to graduate from high school who has complained often about the irrelevance of many of his classes, and whose creativity (he is a really talented visual artist) was rarely helped by them. I sympathize with our broad social desire to have an “educated populace”; but also sympathize with children who are frustrated by the lack of fit of the system to their needs. We just need to spend more (and more attention) on education, instead of treating it like another “optional” part of our lives. It is central to our lives.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, wouldn’t it be something if education became a priority so that it would get adequate funding, class sizes could be small, teachers could be innovative, and individual attention could be paid to all kids to meet their particular needs.

      Liked by 2 people

  15. I do this thing at work where I scan twenty articles in the news during five minutes so I can fill my brain up with something – then the frustrating and boring repetitive tasks can be done while my ‘background info’ sorts itself out. I just told my daughter (who we homeschool, because they would not skip her and she was constantly in trouble for being ‘disengaged’ with their program of things she had been doing for years) to wait until tomorrow to build a science lab inside her cardboard box project. We have spent all day making it a theatre house on one side – and I thought that was enough for the day. She came up five minutes ago and told me she did it all herself except she needed to tape a cardboard chair and table together to go inside now and needed help. So, after reading this, I’m off with the duct tape to continue the cause and then enforce bedtime.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I’m glad you brought this example up. I think there’s WAITING and then there’s waiting. Our kids do need to know that they can’t get everything they want when they want it. Parents do need to set limits for their kids. You only have so much energy and then you have to allow yourself to say ‘no’ or ‘tomorrow’ or ‘I need a break right now.’ My point here is more about how we hold our gifted kids back by not letting them work at their own pace in school or how our school systems don’t nourish our kids’ enthusiasm for learning. Yes, enforce bedtime!! Thank you for sharing.

      Liked by 2 people

  16. My kids, my husband and I talk about waiting to submit tests. About the various ways you can delay and make it seem as though you’re still working. The trick is, you just have to wait until ONE other student submits theirs, then you can comfortably go up and submit yours. Otherwise you become known as That Kid. Which each of us have had the unfortunate experience of being (That Kid, for the uninitiated, is frequently a target of verbal harassment along the “think you’re so smart/better than us?” variety and/or frequent requests to cheat.) The reality is we’ve each had the experience of being finished with a test 20, 30 minutes or more before the next closest student. My husband finally gave up the charade in grad school and just submitted his tests, since in grad school you can leave the classroom once you’ve finished. The kids are only 11 and 13. It’s a little sad they’ve learned this trick already. :/

    Liked by 4 people

  17. I was made to wait all through my academic career, mostly by my mom. I started at private school, and they suggested skipping a grade several times, starting in first grade. She said no because she was afraid of me being with older kids. So I waited, and some years I had really great teachers who would give me extra things to learn in my spare time, like calligraphy or logic puzzles. Others years I had teachers who I guess resented me or thought I was a know it all, and those years were rough. I finally started Pre-IB in middle school, and the academics were more rigorous, but I started losing friends when they began to get bad grades while I didn’t, and because I developed early, and because . So the work was finally harder, but the social scene, with my oh so important same-aged peers, became a nightmare. I was diagnosed with depression by age 14. I begged my mom to let me skip, or home school, or (when it became an option in 11th grade) enter dual enrollment or drop out altogether and just get my GED. I was staying home from school at least one day a week because I couldn’t face the bullying, and still getting all A’s in the IB coursework, and I just wanted OUT of there for my own sanity. I was suicidal for my last two years of high school, crying as I drove myself to school each morning. But my mom made me wait, telling me that I’d be glad I stayed for prom and graduation and the rest of it. And you know what? I am not glad for any of it. I wish she had just let me go.

    I’m thirty-something now, with a four year old son who has been showing signs of giftedness since he was almost two. I don’t know what his educational careers holds in store, but if he ever tells me he feels held back by his schooling choices, I’m going to do everything I can to not make him wait. Yes, I made it through “the waiting,” but just barely, and I still carry emotional scars from those years to this day. And to anyone on the fence about whether to let your child advance or not, PLEASE listen to what your child has to say about it, and take him or her seriously. Keeping kids with their peers is not worth if if they’re miserable because of it.

    Liked by 4 people

    • That sounds so painful, Danielle. Interesting to hear your story. In your case, the teachers wanted to move you ahead but your mother didn’t. Thank you for sharing your experiences. As you can see from the comments, you aren’t alone! And parents reading this will benefit from your advice.

      Liked by 3 people

  18. Waiting. Waiting…. Thank you so much for writing the article. Decades of waiting…

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  19. I was constantly in trouble for talking too much. I’d grasp a concept and get excited and want to respond, I’d be ignored so I’d talk to my friends or doodle. All the way through graduate school I felt frustration that I’d have to wait to see if anyone else was going to speak, if anyone had even done the reading. I hated the look on a teacher or professor’s face as they deliberately ignored me. I was so HUNGRY to exercise my mind, to delve deep into ideas, but I had to wait to be called on, wait for others to finally say something or catch up, wait til it wouldn’t bother anyone for me to speak. I’m still waiting! But not for much longer.

    Liked by 6 people

  20. Oh yes. Thank goodness for those desks with the inside to do things in. I read all of the literature books (the ones with short stories and questions to answer about them). I made little machines out of my bobby pins. I sucked on my braids. I made sculptures out of dried pools of Elmer’s glue. I was That Kid. I competed with the other That Kid to see who could finish the worksheet fastest. I got in trouble in first grade reading circle because when it was my turn I didn’t know where we were, because I had been busy reading the whole story.

    As an adult for years I reacted with near-panic to the prospect of being bored.

    I love watching the kids in my partner’s small nonprofit school, where each child learns on their own level and they all cheer each other on. The tiny almost-five-year-old finishing his notes for his research paper and running off to play blocks with his age peers. How I wish I could have gone there!!

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  21. The worst thing I experienced because of WAITING, was when my motivation just died. Why bother learning anything new? If you know something before you are supposed to, you have to sit through class and do absolutely nothing. Stare at the wall, count the tiles in the ceiling etc., but never ever be praised for being interested in the subject. On the contrary, you are a know-it-all who think you’re so much smarter than anyone else, asking “difficult” questions just to make fun of the teacher (how were you to know s/he couldn’t answer?), and the list goes on.

    It took me YEARS to start being interested in learning again, without feeling sick to my stomach about what was to come…

    Liked by 4 people

  22. I was usually allowed to read while I was waiting, that helped. Still trying to figure out how to pace things so as not to overwhelm people, having done a lot of waiting for people who could and would keep up – at least I have some of them now – people who aren’t afraid to think and wonder, and who want more. I don’t think i was especially gifted, but I was hungry, to learn, to be doing things… still am.

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  23. i have spent my entire life waiting….
    Waiting to start school.
    Waiting to be taught something.
    Waiting for my teacher to finish her coffee.
    Waiting for recess to be over so I could feel safe again.
    Waiting for an adult that understood me.
    Waiting for something challenging.
    Waiting for the class to read a book I had consumed years ago.
    Waiting for my teacher to work an algebra problem without the teacher answer book.
    Waiting for a friend.
    Waiting for something interesting.
    Waiting for the next book to get lost in.
    Waiting until High School for better courses.
    Waiting for my class to quit trying to copy my work.
    Waiting for the bullies to leave me alone.
    Waiting to finish HS.
    Waiting for the torture to end.
    Waiting to feel good about myself.
    Waiting for my life to make sense.

    I’m almost 50 and have a great career as CTO, but this morning, I’m waiting for approval to fix a critical issue. It’s been clear for years, but my peers just are getting there. One asked, why have we not corrected this before? Oh…. Because you cut it from the budget for the last four years. Why have I not been informed? Here are no less than 15 emails & risk assessment details that I have provided over the last 2 years.
    Waiting…..

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thanks for this list, Kerri. Many people will be able to relate. Good to know you have a great career, even with the waiting. Appreciate your sharing.

      Like

    • You had me at this one: “Waiting for recess to be over so I could feel safe again.”

      Hope the approval came through for you today Kerri.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Wow Kerri you just spoke about my life. How could you know? Wow….yes that was exactly what happened to me. The selfish primitive behaviour never ended and the jealously. I was thinking about that today. How everybody just thought it was okay to steal from me because I had more. I know now that it is what primitive people do but when you are a child you don’t know you have any choice the matter, know you are not alone. I feel that way too.

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  24. I went into first grade already knowing how to read. I would take a book home to read every night. My teacher called my mother and told her I was pretending to read the books. Third grade, we were assigned a worksheet to do 10 minutes before french class (a TV show that was totally useless). We were warned not to do it during french class. I finished before french class, turned it in after, and was reprimanded for doing it during french class even though I hadn’t. I remember just watching that clock tick waiting for class to be over for my entire school experience.

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    • So hard to not be believed. I’m so sorry this was your experience all the way through school.

      Like

    • I taught myself to read between the ages of two and three. I remember the first grade, fidgeting helplessly because I had finished an entire reader while the children next to me were struggling to read a small sentence aloud. Thank heavens my teacher took pity on me and got a bunch of fifth grade books for me to read so I wouldn’t die of boredom.

      I am currently out of work, and had what was supposed to be a six month temp assignment, which ended after three. My fault. It is impossible for me to slow down without supreme effort and I blasted my way through the backlog I had been asked to work on. The people in the office were looking at me very oddly, and I realized they didn’t have enough to keep me busy. Back to searching. Meanwhile I am reading a book a day…

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  25. At the age of 5 or 6, my teacher found a way for me to avoid waiting, she used me to listen to the other kids read! My mum was furious when she found out.

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  26. I, too, was a waiting child — I remember this state so keenly! In the way that boredom can be a necessary circumstance in the generation of wonderful new ideas, so I do recall that the occasional waiting spell was helpful to tapping into and trusting my innate creativity.

    However, I’d like us to do better more often with our waiting kids now. As it happens, I assist in the middle school of a small charter K-8, and would value this readership’s input.

    What are your suggestions for green lighting kids in their learning, within a public school classroom, so that they are not stuck waiting? Especially given a context that cannot always afford extended one-on-one involvement, or even too much technological support, and one in which there are a lot of diverse needs across the board! I welcome your detailed ideas.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, waiting in creativity can be helpful. Sometimes it’s called the incubation stage. Ideas can come when we’re not directly working on the project. So, in that case, waiting is helpful.

      Suggestions for teachers? There’s a publisher, Prufrock Press, who prints materials for teachers on how to differentiate for gifted kids in the classroom. I’d start there. Also Free Spirit Publishing has materials for teachers. There’s also something called “cluster grouping” where the gifted kids in a grade are put together in a class with the teacher who’s the most flexible and creative so that the kids can work together on projects and teachers don’t have such a large range of abilities to deal with.

      I hope others will contribute their ideas, too.

      Like

    • This could be entirely unrealistic, but:
      If the children are motivated, I’d wish to let them work on their own self directed projects during ‘spare time’. There would be some basic ground rules and certain parameters in which they have to work… but a child should not be punished by withdrawal of all project privileges if their enthusiasm occasionally takes them outside of those parameters.
      Or, how about asking the children what they’d like to do and formulating a collaborative plan from that?

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    • My main suggestion is to be aware of potential inequities. Gifted kids are VERY sensitive to fairness (at least one of mine is!) If it seems the smart kids are getting “extra” work, not “different” work, differentiation has failed. It’s a delicate balance. I want my gifted kids to show me more, to go deeper, but I can’t ask that of them in a way that they think is *extra.* (me in this case is just as a mom, but encouraging my kids into activities at home that are more than just passive watching of videos or reading books.)

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      • Yes, Karen, it’s important to distinguish between giving kids more of the same versus eliminating the rote assignments and replacing them with more challenging material. It’s not fair to these children to give them more dull work. They shouldn’t have to repeat what they already know.

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      • Agreed. This has been a balancing act with our son, who sometimes enjoys, sometimes resents, having special assignments. Definitely better when it replaces the already mastered and doesn’t take additional time (that the other kids aren’t expected to spend).

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    • I would love for the kids to be grouped by ability…high ability learners all grouped together rather than dispersed amongst the “regular” kids and left waiting…

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  27. I remember reading Hamlet in elementary school and telling the teacher all about it, asking if we could read it as a class after whatever we were reading. Only to have her pull it from my hands during Silent reading time and tell me it wasn’t appropriate. The next day the rest of the Shakespeare plays had disappeared from the school library. “You’ll get that in High School” Except that it had been cut from the curriculum by then. 😦

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    • Oh wow. Hamlet. I wish you’d had a teacher who would have been so excited for you. And maybe explained that the other kids weren’t ready for Hamlet but could find a mentor for you, even a high school student, who would have been delighted with your discovery of Shakespeare.

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  28. Oh my gosh, do I remember this. The SRA comment really triggered me. My 5th teacher got frustrated when I flew through the first level he assigned me, so he started requiring me to copy out all of the questions and answers for each one in cursive. Asynchronous development made fine motor excruciating (I was a year young, too, after starting K at 4y 4m) so I just stopped doing SRA altogether. Ended up with a D in Reading the rest of the year… for a kid who was reading at a HS level.

    And all of the other waiting. K-3 was spent in a one-room private school where I could work mostly at my own pace in reading and math, and if I finished work early, I could read. 4th meant a move to public school, and it was absolute hell until I hit HS, especially since I ended up repeating the 5th grade when it was decided that’d help with my social and emotional problems (because it MUST be me, it couldn’t have anything to do with my parents’ divorce during that time).

    Lots of baggage around waiting for sure.

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  29. As I was reading through the comments, it triggered a memory of waiting that I’m surprised I had forgotten about. This example could happen to anyone — gifted or non-gifted.

    My talent was writing. At an early age, I wrote stories and poems and created my own books, and I knew from an early age that I wanted to be a writer. I couldn’t wait to try journalism, and the opportunity came in junior high. In 8th grade, I was told I had to wait because I didn’t have room for electives in my schedule (never mind that I would have had no problem handling an extra class or that I could have figured out a way to make it work). In 9th grade, I was required to take special education PE. No joke. The only reasons I was forced to do this was because I hated PE, and I couldn’t pass their PE tests (running a mile in 12 minutes, doing pull ups and push ups, etc.). Never mind that I had exercise-induced asthma and NO ONE noticed I had an actual medical problem! The PE class that I was required to take just happened to be at the same time as journalism, so I was told to wait until 10th grade and high school. In 10th grade, the counselor who enrolled me in classes enrolled me in orchestra assuming that I would want to continue orchestra. You guessed it – the class was the same time as journalism. By the time I found out and told the counselor I really, really wanted journalism, I was told it was too late to change.

    Of course I pursued journalism and have had a writing-related career regardless, but shouldn’t schools encourage talents? Shouldn’t they advocate for students instead of making assumptions and doing what is convenient for them? Shouldn’t they open opportunities rather than closing them? Ask the kids what they want, believe what they say, and help make it happen for them even if the solution is unconventional.

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  30. This article is so timely. My son just started 4th grade last week and has been in tears because he is so bored because he has to wait for everyone. He hates spelling tests which take “forever” (according to him.). He also hates the standardized testing. It’s very easy for him but he ends up waiting up 45 minutes for everyone else to finish. During this time they are not allowed to read, draw, wrote or put their heads down. I feel so bad for him. I am seriously considering homeschooling. He is also in the inclusion class for the second time in 3 years. (We have no choice in class placement.). While I agree that the slower kids should be getting the help they need, I cannot figure out why the school thinks it is okay to have the quickest kids in with the slowest kids. In second grade, I helped while they were in small groups. When they were grouped by ability it was fine. The fast kids would get done and either read or play other educational games. When they mixed the groups, my son and two others had to sit for 40 minutes (instead of 15) while they waited for the 4th child to finish. I do not see how that is helpful or fair to any of the children.

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    • It’s an ongoing debate in schools about ability grouping. Homeschooling can be a viable option, if it’s available to you. http://www.giftedhomeschoolers.org is a good resource.

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    • The worst class in my lousy school experience was Algebra 1, when some *%$^$^@ administrator decided they should put the handful of 8th graders who had tested out of 2+ years of math into the same Algebra 1 section as their collection of 11th and 12th graders who had failed it 2+ times. That sort of mixing of abilities is NOT fair, and it’s NOT beneficial to anybody’s learning.

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    • “When they were grouped by ability it was fine. The fast kids would get done and either read or play other educational games. When they mixed the groups, my son and two others had to sit for 40 minutes (instead of 15) while they waited for the 4th child to finish. I do not see how that is helpful or fair to any of the children.”

      I have read that in studies of separating students, the separation criteria is often racially and socio-economicallly biased. One study I read about many years ago, showed that when those considered the poorest were ‘mislabeled’ and the teacher/s expected them to be at the highest levels, these ‘poor’ students did just fine. That might be one argument against both separating and the way schools treat all of our children. Montessori schools may be a solution, Waldorf too.

      Liked by 2 people

      • It’s definitely complex. If only the “white” upper middle class kids get recognized as gifted and put in special classes, then we have an elitist problem. If all of the kids who are gifted are found wherever they are–kids of color, or kids from lower socio-economic groups–and they are put into classrooms with each other and with teachers who love to work with them, then we can have kids whose educational needs are met. But this is a huge debate in education circles that I can’t begin to address here!

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  31. I haven’t coped well. I have a pool of wrath from being isolated, belittled, teased, and ignored. It warps my working life and torpedoes personal relationships.

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  32. I spent a lot of time in my own head while waiting. Our local high school recently had a fund-raising campaign so they could buy “clickers.” These are little remote control devices that allow each student to answer a multiple-choice question by pushing one of several buttons. The justification for this is to allow teachers to constantly “check for understanding,” but clearly this is a force-you-to-pay-attention device. I would have been ready to slit my wrists after a week with these things. Fortunately my kids both graduated before they were able to implement this in every classroom.

    My oldest would have been ready for the asylum if he had had to use the clickers. He is horrified by new university policies that ban laptops from classrooms in an effort to encourage kids to pay attention to the lecture. He claims he never would have made it through certain classes without something to look at while waiting for the class to move to the next thing. He graduated summa cum laude. From Duke.

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  33. When I was in third grade, we had to write a story. I wrote three pages, front and back, with a plot that had twists and turns and descriptive language. I was exhausted at the end of the story, but it was awesome and I was proud of it. It was time for recess, and as I turned to go out, my teacher stopped me and told me that the story needed to be copied over again in good handwriting (which I never acquired anyway). Since everyone else had done a page, they had had time to go back and recopy it. I was so engrossed in writing a good story, I had only my rough draft. I had to skip recess, and recopy three pages instead. And I don’t have good handwriting. I learned something very valuable that day: better to get it done fast, and…..wait.

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  34. Thinking about all the waiting, that was the worst. Waiting for everyone to move on. Waiting for something new. Waiting for a friend. I was lucky and my first friend was a genius – seriously. Unfortunately, because we were both bored most of the time, we also spent a lot of time waiting in the principal’s office, or the nurse’s office, or both.

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  35. I meant to add, that I was a chronic daydreamer. I probably spent more time in my head in class, in school, in life than I have outside of it. But on the outside I’m still waiting.

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  36. Paula, Great article. It really captures the essence of what so many gifted children and adults experience. What I think is additionally hard is the expectation that gifted children, in particular, are somehow supposed to be OK with waiting for others to catch up. They’re supposed to be patient and “considerate” and wait for the other students. Thanks for a great post about this dilemma.

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  37. I usually had teachers who let us read when we finished early, so I didn’t mind waiting because I was reading! My daughter is the same way. As long as she can read when she’s done, she’s a happy girl.

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  38. I’ve probably said this before, but I just ignored whatever the requirements were. Don’t read ahead? You’ve got to be kidding. Can’t read a different book than what the others are doing, Unhuh. Finish before everyone else usually meant either nap time or doodle time or both depending on how fast I finished.
    I’ve never seen a bored infant in a normal environment with the usual array of multiple stimulating sights, sounds, smells, textures and events going on. Given the amazing ideas and thoughts bright kids, and maybe all kids, have or ought to have, why don’t we all know that we have a built-in entertainment system of sensory perceptions, questions, memories, making new connections between old ideas, creative imaging, mental word games, etc.? Where does this get damped down and what could parents do to release it? Just asking.

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    • I think that many kids do what you’re saying. Find ways to entertain themselves with their wonderful creativity and imaginations. It’s when there’s a daily-weekly-yearly experience of repetition and rote learning in a classroom that it gets to be too much, even for the most accomplished daydreamer!

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      • Hi Paula,
        Thank you for responding and I admire your ability to do so for everyone who posts here. Talk about tedium. But I was exactly talking about those repetitious times. Surely everyone is capable of handling a one-time situation. My point was a suggestion for those seemingly endless times. Perhaps my issue is with the term ‘waiting,’ which, for me, contains the implication of acceptance. Whereas, outrage and impatience does not. Surely the non-‘gifted’ students are bored by having to listen to a bright kid ask questions and use vocabulary they are completely unfamiliar with and even more so on those rare occasions when a teacher might try to actually respond.
        I’d rather imagine a world where each student feels sufficiently recognized and appreciated that they will gladly wait to hear what others have to say which is nothing like the current situation.

        Liked by 1 person

  39. I do have a funny story to add here. Second grade, my first spelling test. The teacher told us the day before to be sure and study because we were going to have to write the words without looking. I went home that night and practiced writing the words with my eyes closed. Obviously they were so easy to spell what else could she have meant 🙂

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  40. My 5 kids waited so long that they ended up “dumbed down” and on level with the rest of the kids by high school. But 4 out of 5 suffer from anxiety, or depression at all levels now as adults. Frustrating that public school did this to them and they were in the accelerated program in our school district. If I could do it over as a mother, I’d home school them to avoid the “waiting”!

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  41. When you are gifted and ADD they sometimes counter act with one anouther. One distracts you and makes you slow down or redo what you knew hours ago. The other makes you wait and wonder wonder why everyone else is slower or just not getting it.

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  42. My daughter easily reads 300+ page books in just a few days of down time during class and still gets 100% in all her classes. She just started high school today and I’m hoping the “Honors” and “Pre-AP” and even AP classes she’s taking (one even a junior level class) final challenge her a little. At the same time, I’m not sure how well she’ll handle the challenge after nine years of easy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Important point. If school has been easy and then becomes hard, kids can experience anxiety, confusion and not know how to study or manage their time. These are things you can look out for and then help her understand that it’s not that she’s suddenly not smart. You can give her the skills she needs and the encouragement to tackle the hard stuff. Good to run into it now while she’s still living at home.

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  43. Pingback: Article: “Imagine a World Where Gifted Kids Don’t Have to Wait” By Paula Prober

  44. When I was in grade 7 (waaay back in ’74) the special needs teacher did some assessment and it was decided that I needed extra challenges. I was shown how to collate millions of pieces of paper that the special needs teacher had in her office—basically filing. I was allowed to leave class whenever I was ‘waiting,’ go down to her office (she was only at our school a few hours a week and there was no time for “gifted” programming) and work on my special project. It was mind numbingly boring AND a few weeks in I completely lost track of where I was. So I would just leave class when I had nothing to do and go down to her office and hang out, by myself. It was strange and I felt so stupid for not being able to complete a simple task. I know they were well intentioned and trying to give me some relief from the boredom of the classroom. Ugh. Waiting.

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  45. Waiting. Year after year after year of waiting nearly extinguished the fire that once burned so brightly in my son. He’s still waiting for his peers to catch up. Thankfully when he was in 8th grade we found a welcoming high school that allowed him to start his freshman year with senior level & AP classes. I wonder how his life would be different if only he didn’t have to stagnant for far too many years. It’s heartbreaking to watch the fire dim to mere embers.

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    • It’s never too late to rekindle the fire, Dena!

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    • These posts make me want to cry. It is so depressing that our nation refuses to place any importance (via funding) on nurturing our children on the advanced end of the spectrum. I am the mom of one of these children who was reading by the age of 3 and knew all countries and world capitals and could verbally explain what countries bordered any given country by the age of 4.5. I have attempted to work with schools and teachers with a varying success (mostly not, but attempts have been made here or there). We accelerated him into advanced math in 7th grade because they were doing it for a peer, but math is not his love or strength and it was a terrible year of watching him struggle with his first challenge. Any parents of young children who are reading this, I encourage you to arm yourself with knowledge about gifted children and be dogged in finding a solution that will consistently and strategically offer challenge (not more work) as they enter school and move through the system. If you find that the school and teachers are unwilling or unable, I encourage you to move to a place where they have a dedicated school for exceptional children, or homeschool if you can. I know how unrealistic that will seem to many, but I see the difficulties that emerge as a child becomes accustomed to complacency (waiting) and the fire dims as Dena mentions here in her post.

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  46. I skipped half of second grade and half of third and when I think back I loved the “waiting”. My second grade teacher would allow me to complete all my assignments for the day and as soon as I was don’t she let me work on whatever peaked my interest. I was usually done with my class work before lunch. Halfway through the way I was moved to third and I initially hated it. I missed all the waiting and all the free time to learn what I wanted to. After the initial adjustment things improved but I don’t think my parents considered how skipping a grade would effect me socially as I got older. People assume that smart, well-behaved, introverted children are mature. But a quiet child my be quiet because they don’t know what to say to their peers or how to interact. High school was much more difficult for me, for a multitude of reasons.
    I think “waiting” can be beneficial, if you have a teacher equipped to engage your child properly during the time spent “waiting”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s the key. Children need to be given stimulating assignments. Then, it’s not waiting. It’s appropriate education! And yes, many people are concerned about acceleration and the effects socially and emotionally. It has to be decided on a case by case basis. But the literature would suggest that it’s mostly a positive experience.

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  47. Yup, yup, yes and amen! This is what I go through with Lexi. At 3, she was reading fluently but I was told she had to “wait” to go into Pre-K. At 4.5, reading and doing math at 2nd grade level, I was told she had to “wait” and not enter Kindergarten early. In Kindergarten, now reading about a 3rd/4th grade level (math too) I was told all year she had to “wait” and just sit at her table while her table mates finished the worksheets/work she took about 2 minutes to do. She finally resorted to just doing the worksheets FOR her table mates out of boredom and then got in trouble….I am hoping first grade is better…

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    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Ann. It sounds like Lexi is very advanced. It’ll be important that you’re involved at the school to help them understand her and accommodate her learning needs. Do you know about Great Potential Press? They publish books for parents on raising gifted kids and I’m guessing they have some on working with the schools.

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  48. When we told my son after kindergarten that we were removing him from public school to homeschool him, his response was ” Finally I won’t have to wait for everyone to catch up. ” Homeschooling has allowed both of our sons to learn at their own pace.

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  49. As a gifted kid, I’m starting as a freshmen in high school in just a few days, I so wish it were easier. I have always had lots of gifted classes and my teachers will even give me advanced work and I read alot during class. I hated being the first one done. I would race threw a packet of homework assigned for the class day or even the week. I would have to throw away the packet and work with the class in 6th grade. It always made me feel like the work I did, didn’t matter because I didn’t do it the way they, the teacher, had wanted it done. So I stopped paying attention. In 7th grade I never listened to any of my teachers except pre algebra because it was math and I loved math. I could work ahead and go at my own pace because my teacher was also our advanced mathematics teacher. I barely remember anything of this year even though it was only 2 years ago. Well my teachers in 8th grade bored me so I didn’t care about my grades. I got a 114% the first grade check in (first quarter) in my writing workshop class. So then I stopped trying in that class too and it dropped to a 92%, a normal or average grade. All growing up I hung out with adults and my cousins that are 7-12 years older than me. Well in 7th grade I learned how to play dumb. Everybody always says not to. At first I knew what I was doing and I could control it. Well I have been friends with this guy for about 3 months now and I said something that I normally think and would say to my parents or a friend. He says to me, “Wow Blake. You really are smart. You’re probably one of the smartest girls I know. You might even be as smart as me.” He isn’t all that smart to be quite honest. He is always lost and is quite immature. I realize then that I have lost control. I am no longer that gifted child that I was when I was younger. My gifted program teacher once said that girls usually become less involved with their academics as they age. I realized that I had. The one time I chose to listen to my teachers it screws me over. I wait until at least one person has finished a test to turn mine in. I listen for someone else to flip to the second page of a packet or test to continue. I listen for someone else to click on the first answer on a computerized test. I have been so afraid of people knowing I’m smart and judging me for it that I play stupid. I guess it’s just one less student for teachers to yell at to slow down. Although it isn’t what I want, it is what I have became through the system I have been born into and placed among.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, Blake. Don’t give up! And you can see from this blog, there are lots of people who experience these same things. Is your gifted program teacher someone who understands you? Your parents? Find an adult you can talk with about this. You can get help in figuring this out. You can find a way to be yourself within the system. It’s hard but it’s possible. You can do it! All of us here at this blog will cheer you on!

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  50. In kindergarten, I knew and was writing all the numbers before the rest of the class has made it to 2. I was told to stop and wait for the rest of the students, and I remember not being able to understand why everyone else didn’t know “7” yet.

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  51. My youngest child’s first experience at waiting was just before he turned two. His older sister had asked to start a ballet class. He watched the first class with me, stretched as high as he could on his tip toes to see and his little nose pressed so hard to the glass that you couldn’t tell it apart from his cheeks. When the class was over he ran right into the teachers arms and pleaded to attend the next class. I told him he had to wait until he was wearing regular big boy underwear. By the next week he had potty trained himself. Unfortunately it didn’t matter. The studio age requirement was three. Now he is seven and good luck getting him not to dance. He has gone so far as to start dancing in the middle of a restaurant if he is moved by the music. He still hears wait, now and then but nothing slows him down for long.

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    • Thanks for sharing your son’s experience, Lea. I think that some waiting is unavoidable, of course, and necessary, depending on a child’s developmental level and logistics. I’m so glad that he loves dancing! It’s such a wonderful way to express oneself!

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  52. My gifted 10 y/o son started fifth grade this week. We were going over some math problems that he had completed in school. There was some doodling down the side of his page. He said, “I’m sorry for doodling Mom, but I don’t have anything else to do when the teacher is trying to help the other kids catch up.” I asked how much of the time does that seem to happen in class? He responded, “Two to three minutes at a time, for about 30% of the class.” YES! He has had to wait most of his young life. It saddens me greatly to think it may never be his turn.

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    • I was that kid. I have to say, I *enjoyed* the doodling, and *enjoyed* having the free time to let my mind wander- to do anything I wanted to do! It was great. I wish I had the free time now that I did when I was in school, while other kids were finishing their work, and I could sit and let my freed mind go anywhere it wanted. I had so, so much fun drawing pictures, and I think the rest and relaxation I got between tasks really helped keep me sharp and ready for the next thing to come. If I was gifted, then the freedom given by waiting was the gift.

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    • Thanks for sharing, Amy.

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  53. Home education!!! I home ed my daughter who is 2 grades ahead at math and english after her Principal refused to help. I was told to WAIT in the corridor when my work was complete in the lower grades, I refused to accept that for my own child. She now spends her days at her own pace, learning things that are interesting to her and our Education Officer said that we are teaching at a high standard. Obviously she has many friends too, mostly home educated too in the local area, we’re lucky that we have an active HE community nearby.

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  54. This resonates with me but I also wonder how much of the waiting comes from us taking a defeated/passive approach to the push back we receive. My son showed signs of exceptional precociousness before he was one and a year or more before he was school aged, he had sought out and mastered many of the topics and areas of study of elementary school. So, I had a 4 year old who loved and pursued beginning algebra, geometry, was reading, spoke two languages, was obsessed with physics, monsters, history, death, The Warriors Series, and all things mommy. Such a lovely and odd combination and as a single parent working 2.5 jobs, options were short. More than a decade has passed and when he was told to wait in school, I found cheap ways to fuel his interests at home. When it was suggested he skip grades, I said, no, preferring he stay with a peer group – though he will tell you he never felt he fit in he still made some friends. He now knows six languages, has been invited to study science and math, CS at ivy league colleges over the summers part-time (financial aid! – yay), holds down a job in a high tech company, runs his own little online startup and whenever he hears a no, finds a way around. Some people in my family wonder why he hasn’t begun college and I feel like we’re making it work, though I know that some of the reason that is true is because he and I have figured out how to “work” the system (FYI, MIT (free), Stanford, Harvard, Johns Hopkins (for younger ones) have courses and financial aid available) without truncating his childhood. Private schools were never an option because of finance and no was never an option because of his intense needs. I know I haven’t been able to give him all that he needs… he always wants more, but through trial and error and error, there was a lot less waiting and a lot less unhappiness. If your child wants/needs to learn to stimulate their brain and soul, it can be done without much money or support. It’s difficult, but really isn’t everything worthwhile?

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    • Thank you so much for describing your experience. I’m sure it’ll help others to hear how you managed as a single parent with 2.5 jobs. If there are more details you’d like to share about how you did it and/or resources you’d recommend, feel free to share them here. (or send me an email via my About page and I’ll pass them on in another post!) Thanks for taking the time to comment.

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  55. If there’s one word I could do without hearing ever again it would definitely be wait. There are so many instances that I remember where teachers have told me to slow down and wait for everyone else. I very vividly remember in the 7th grade I was taking the end of the year exams and I finished them too early. My teacher made me sit there and redo the whole exam. After that I developed a habit of waiting for at least two thirds of the class to finish before I would hand in my exams. I ended up scoring out of high school, I was absolutely ecstatic at that point. I figured that since I had scored so high on the exam maybe I should skip a grade or two and I did. However not only did every single one of my teachers advise me against doing that, I was actually called into the principals office. For an hour he tried to convince me that skipping a grade was the wrong thing to do, I didn’t listen to a single thing the man had to say. I ended up skipping the 8th grade figuring things would get better and that there would be no more waiting, but it never ends does it? i’m in collage now and still waiting, only this time its not just other people i’m waiting for, its myself. I have lost every ounce of the motivation I had when I was younger. All that waiting has made me stagnant, unable to move forward for fear that I will fail to live up to my own expectations. My mum has told me for years that it would all get better once I got to collage. Well I made it, now what? Life is a waiting game and I can’t stand it.

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    • Oh, Jacqueline. I don’t think people realize how much gifted kids are affected by the waiting in school when it happens year after year after year. It certainly can create what you’re describing. Loss of motivation. Fear of failure. Disappointments. Fear of success. Hopelessness. And more. That said, that motivated smart sensitive person is still in you! You can find her again. I hope reading my blog will help you know that you’re not alone.

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  56. To me, the idea of waiting assumes that, eventually, others want to catch up and will eventually do so. The truth is that there are many things that will never be said because there really never is a right time or place to say them. Most people just don’t seem to care. I’m sure I’m preaching to the the choir. . .

    Waiting as a kid wasn’t something I was necessarily conscious of, primarily because I felt so insecure in the world. Both the physical and social world felt unpredictable to me. Regarding the physical world, I was legally blind (20/400) until around age 4 when I had four cataract surgeries. After that, I was prescribed thick, Coke bottle cataract glasses because my eyes were/are aphakic (no lenses). One story my mom told me about “waiting” was that I had to be held back in Reading Readiness in order to help me, “slow down.” Apparently, I was very eager to try to “catch up” after gaining my sight. I was also in the Special Ed gym class that year to try assist me in moving a little more confidently in the physical world. I was placed in a “gifted program” a couple years later.

    Another story of waiting that I remember occurred in fourth grade when we had regular timed multiplication speed tests. The only reason I knew I was really far ahead of the class is because the teacher was using a token economy, a board with everyone’s names listed with stars next to each student for every test they passed (which I think is a crappy idea, by the way). I would have had no idea otherwise. Generally, I was pretty much just focused on the task in front of me, which is about all I could see, LOL. When I was on my last timed test, my teacher marked an answer wrong that wasn’t wrong. She accused me of changing the answer and made me take the test again. I hadn’t changed it, of course, and felt a strong sense of injustice over her accusing me of cheating. I do remember really loving math and having a lot of fun with the logic games in the enrichment program. It was an intrinsic joy. It’s almost like, since I couldn’t master my physical world very well, I decided to “master” the abstract world. To this day, I still love exploring things like philosophy and perception. I love the kind of seeing that doesn’t involve eyesight.

    I don’t think I have the pure, g-g gifted kind of intellectual giftedness that some mention here, but I also think there is something more to me than “just” being a high achiever. At the risk of being presumptuous, I think I often perceive reality more accurately and completely than many, perhaps ironically, because my perception of the physical world wasn’t (isn’t) a given. When I was little, whenever there was a change in color on the floor, for instance, I had to investigate the floor with my hands to see if there was a step or not. There is a level of detachment that I have, even to my own convictions, that can be pretty unnerving to those committed to their version of reality. I just don’t assume that things are always as they seem to be. There is a funny little scene in the movie, “Inside Out,” in which one of the characters knocks over a box filled with “facts” and “opinions.” One of the characters quips something like (paraphrased), “Don’t worry about it. People mix up the facts and opinions all the time.” There is no point waiting for someone like this. They will likely never catch up. And that’s okay.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks, holbart. I’m enjoying getting to know you as you share more of your experiences. And readers are benefitting from your insights. An interesting take on the topic of waiting. Appreciate your contribution!

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  57. Thanks, Paula,

    I’m returning to my job this week in which I have an impossible dynamic to manage with regard to my boss. He’s the kind of person with whom waiting just isn’t going to work. It’s hard to feel so pessimistic about another human being. It isn’t primarily about his intelligence (although that is a factor) so much as it is about his character. In preparing to return to work, I’ve been thinking a lot about narcissism as it might be juxtaposed with the nature of true love. It’s just so difficult when your boss’s self-esteem is inextricably tied to you not being an autonomous self, even if you just want to be a loving and kind autonomous self. I’ve had to manage a lot of transference with him because the dynamic with my mom was pretty similar. My reaction to him is more intense than it would be with other challenging relationships. To stay with the theme, I really don’t know what I’m waiting for. I know things aren’t going to change, but I’m bullheaded and hate to give up the work that I actually love to do.

    It isn’t fair for me say that most people don’t care, like I said in my previous post. I sometimes just feel so discouraged, especially around how humans often treat each other. I just want to live in a better world.

    I keep telling myself that I’m just experiencing an emotional FAD – Fear, Anticipation, Dread. I’m sure things won’t be so bad once I’m back into the swing of things. FADs don’t last forever, right? I wish it was that easy. . .

    Liked by 2 people

    • Important to know that some of your experience with your boss is more intense because he reminds you of your mother. One idea is to find a way to protect the child part of you. Visualize her in a safe place away from him. Then you can feel the strength of your adult self who is not as vulnerable to his dysfunction and can focus on the job she loves. Perhaps you won’t feel as much FAD once your child self is protected.

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  58. Thanks Paula. We’ve been waiting for someone to write this terrific article! I suspect that , even my middle-aged face often looks like this child’s in many meetings I attend. I work consciously to manage my facial expressions and to stop myself from hyperventilating, I focus on breathing. I also waited – for about 40 years until I encountered a counsellor who helped me understand my adult rainforest mind. I really enjoy your blog – hope you don’t mind but I thought I would share one of the poems I wrote about my experience of giftedness.

    https://wordsforleaving.wordpress.com/2014/04/10/test-2/

    Liked by 1 person

  59. Great article! Glad I found you, by way of looking up multipotentialite links. Love it! And helping my gifted kids is one of my parts of my crazy world.

    Liked by 1 person

  60. wow, you triggered a memory of mine, when I was in elementary school we had A.E.P. advance education placement, once a week on Wednesday afternoon. One weekend I was at my friends house and his dad asked my what A.E.P was and how come his son, Andrew wasn’t in it, with a frustrated look on his face. It was So Uncomfortable. I had no idea what to tell him. Prober is a good name for a psychotherapist. J/S

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, Trent, hard to know what to say in that situation. It’s one of the problems when there’s a pull-out program for gifted kids. (even though there are many pluses–it’s a mixed bag) And, ha, yes, some people think that I made up the name! But I didn’t!

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