Your Rainforest Mind

Support for the Excessively Curious, Creative, Smart & Sensitive


“…Complicated, Confounded, and Chaoticized…” — Living With Gifted Minds

photo from Tom Clynes, author

photo from Tom Clynes, author

“Since the first moment of his existence, Taylor has complicated, confounded, and chaoticized nearly every detail of his family’s lives.”

This is one of my favorite sentences from Tom Clynes’ book, The Boy Who Played with Fusion: Extreme Science, Extreme Parenting, and How to Make a Star.

My favorite paragraph from Clynes’ book is: “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. ‘ They said they were always waiting for teachers to move ahead, waiting for classmates to catch up, waiting to learn something new –always waiting.’ ”

The Boy Who Played With Fusion is not only a captivating true story about a profoundly gifted boy but also an important book if you’re an advocate for gifted children. You can find out more about Tom’s book in my review here. And, in case you haven’t seen it, my popular post about gifted kids and waiting, is here.

Whether you’re a parent of a gifted child or dealing with your own rainforest-minded soul, there are lots of complications, confoundations and chaotizations. Am I right?

And just in the nick of time, before you’re chaoticized beyond all hope, my book will be out at the end of this month, June 2016. And, if my delightful blogginess hasn’t convinced you to buy it, here is the assessment from the aforementioned Tom Clynes, who has seen a prepublication copy:

“The rainforest is Paula Prober’s fresh and apt metaphor for the abundant internal ecosystem of the gifted child or adult. Like tropical forests around the world, the gifted are both fragile and powerful, surrounded by threats but full of world-changing potential.

Prober does not settle for shallow or simplistic answers; she explores and finds inspiration in places that other researchers and practitioners haven’t considered. Drawing on examples from her clinical practice, she presents straightforward strategies for encouraging not just accomplishment, but also the capacity for happiness and fulfillment. The result is an intensely readable and useful book that will resonate with anyone concerned with understanding and nurturing the extraordinary abundance within ourselves and the gifted people in our lives.”


To my patient bloggEEs: I hope you’re tolerating my book promotion enthusiasm. I promise to continue to provide important content here on my blog as we continue on this journey together. Thank you so much for your support and encouragement.

And speaking of promotion, the lovely Linda K. Silverman of the Gifted Development Center in Denver wrote this review.

And one more thing: I’m giving a talk through the Intergifted site on July 12 (2016). It’s free and you’ll be able to see what I look like and sound like after all of this time wondering how old I really am and if I’m as funny “in person.” The details are here.



They Say You’re A Know-It-All. Are You?

photo from Pixabay, CC

photo from Pixabay, CC

What did you do when you were in school and you knew all of the answers to the questions the teacher was asking?

Did you raise your hand expecting that you’d be called on? Did you raise your hand expecting the teacher to ignore you? Did you not raise your hand because the other kids would get mad at you? Did you blurt out the answer out of frustration or anger or a touch of ADHD? Did you read Hamlet for the fifth time? Did you plan the design for a nuclear fusion reactor? Did you stare out the window in despair looking to the crows for consolation?

All you wanted was to learn something new. To be free to be curious and excited. To share big ideas with your peers. You weren’t trying to make anyone else look bad. You weren’t trying to show how smart you were. You weren’t trying to irritate the teacher. All you wanted was to learn something new.

But you were ridiculed and rejected. And maybe your teachers told you, “Nobody likes a know-it-all.”

Ironic, isn’t it? When you’re often feeling like an impostor? When you know how much you don’t know? You’re the last one to think that you know it all.

Maybe you were like Taylor Wilson. Just trying to correct the outdated information his science teacher was presenting to the class. Eager to talk with someone about “the esoteric behaviors of baryons and mesons.” Exploring nuclear fusion on his own while failing science in school.

Granted, we know that, in school, it’s very hard for teachers to manage large groups of energetic kids and meet each child’s particular educational needs. We know this. We need to work to change the system. But for now, and from now on, I don’t want you to be blamed for your ravenous hunger for knowledge. I don’t want you to be mislabeled. I don’t want you to blame yourself.

You’re not a know-it-all.

You’re a want-to-know-it-all.


To my dear blogEEs: Were your experiences in school like this? Tell us about them. And if you haven’t heard of Taylor Wilson, check out the wonderful book, The Boy Who Played With Fusion, by Tom Clynes. Clynes tells an engaging, true story and is an articulate advocate for gifted kids. (Admittedly, I wish Taylor wasn’t using his extraordinary abilities to develop nukes, but that’s another conversation.)




“Extreme Science, Extreme Parenting…” Extreme Giftedness

photo from Tom Clynes

photo courtesy of Tom Clynes

“Since the first moments of his existence, Taylor has complicated, confounded, and chaoticized nearly every detail of his family’s lives.”

So says Tom Clynes, author of the recently released and captivating book– The Boy Who Played With Fusion: Extreme Science, Extreme Parenting And How to Make a Star.

Taylor Wilson, a profoundly gifted child, built a working nuclear fusion reactor at the age of 14.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Stop right there.

Just because you didn’t achieve nuclear fusion at 14 or even at 48, does not mean that you aren’t gifted. You probably, like Taylor, did complicate, confound and chaoticize your family’s life. At least some of the time. Am I right?

Rainforest minds (gifted minds) don’t all become obsessed with science or produce astonishing achievements.

But many do have “manic, metastasizing curiosity” like Taylor–along with a sense of wonder, idealism and a desire to make the world a better place.

Giftedness isn’t one-size-fits-all. The rain forest is ridiculously complex. Taylor is clearly in the genius category and so he is, as Clynes describes him, “scary-smart.” You may not be so scary. Reading Taylor’s story, will be both inspiring and educational no matter where you fall on the continuum.

What makes this book unique is that Clynes combines a compelling “coming-of-age narrative” with articulate well-researched advocacy for gifted kids. He’s a fresh, knowledgeable and welcome voice, especially for those of us who’ve been speaking out on this topic for years.

Here are some of the questions he addresses:

“…what does it take to identify and develop the raw material of talent and turn it into exceptional accomplishment? How do we parent and educate extraordinarily determined and intelligent children and help them reach their potential?”… “And how do we shift the course of an educational culture that has, for the past several decades, underchallenged the children it once regarded as its best hope?”

I’d say these are the important questions.

Not only that. Those of you who are parents will appreciate hearing about the numerous challenges Taylor’s parents faced and how they handled them. And it may soothe your own fears to realize that it could be worse. Chances are, your child isn’t storing radioactive materials in your garage.

Taylor’s parents had to learn how to respond to his irrepressible enthusiasm for learning and for blowing stuff up. “Taylor has always been obsessed with things…Whatever he got interested in, he just went crazy with it, nonstop. Even getting him to eat was a big trick. Sometimes it still is,” said Kenneth, Taylor’s dad.

The Author--Tom Clynes; photo courtesy of Tom Clynes

The Author–Tom Clynes; photo courtesy of Tom Clynes

And you’ll read how they struggled to provide him with an appropriate education, as do many parents of the rainforest-minded. Taylor’s parents wing it. Rather well.

Taylor Wilson and Tom Clynes give us all a little more hope. Clynes provides his “recipe:”

“…parents who are courageous enough to give their children wings and let them fly in the directions they choose; schools that support children as individuals; a society that understands the difference between elitism and individualized education, and that addresses the needs of kids at all levels.”

Taylor’s story just may get us there.


To my blogEEs: I didn’t plan to write two book reviews in a row, dear readers. It just happened. I hope you’ve found them helpful. Let us know about the books you’re reading that have inspired you. And tell us if you read The Boy Who Played With Fusion. You’ll be glad you did!

This post is part of a collection of great posts from parents of gifted kids and professionals. Click on the link or the image to read more!