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.

Related Posts

Author: Paula Prober

I’m a psychotherapist and consultant in private practice based in Eugene, Oregon. I specialize in international consulting with gifted adults and parents of gifted children. I’ve been a teacher and an adjunct instructor at the University of Oregon and a frequent guest presenter at Oregon State University and Pacific University. I’ve written articles on giftedness for the Eugene Register-Guard, the Psychotherapy Networker, Advanced Development Journal and online for psychotherapy dot net, Rebelle Society, Thrive, Introvert Dear, and Highly Sensitive Refuge. My first book, Your Rainforest Mind: A Guide to the Well-Being of Gifted Adults and Youth, is a collection of case studies of gifted clients along with many strategies and resources for gifted adults and teens. 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 is a collection of my most popular blog posts along with writing exercises for self-exploration and insight.

204 responses to “Imagine a World Where Gifted Kids Don’t Have to Wait”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Being Gifted May Not Be Such A Gift – YOUR RAINFOREST MIND

    […] You may have been told how smart you were over and over but with no understanding of what that really meant or with no support for your sensitivities or emotional needs. Just enormous pressure to win, to achieve, to be the best. You may have had to wait for your fellow students or your coworkers to catch up to you or to understand you. You may still be waiting. […]

  2. You Know You Have A Rainforest Mind When… | Your Rainforest Mind

    […] have spent more time waiting for others to catch up than you have spent […]

  3. Gifted And Lonely In Belgium | Your Rainforest Mind

    […] was focused on the slower learners, so she was frustrated, waiting for others to catch up. Waiting to learn something new. Waiting for someone who could understand her […]

  4. What Are The Challenges Gifted Adults Have In Common? — A Therapist’s Perspective | Your Rainforest Mind

    […] On Waiting and More Waiting […]

  5. Why Care About Gifted Children? | Your Rainforest Mind

    […] I do not need to remind you of the years of serious bullying in school because you were super enthusiastic about learning and wanted to answer all the questions. Because you spent every recess hiding in the library, your only safe place. Because some of your teachers were annoyed by your relentless curiosity. Because your passions for classical music, paleontology, Richard Feynman, BBC documentaries, Van Gogh, and brain specimen coasters were not understood by the other eight-year-olds. Because you spent weeks waiting to learn something new.  […]

  6. Faith Currant Avatar
    Faith Currant

    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.

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Sadly, it’s a story I’ve heard too many times.

  7. Jennifer Avatar

    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.

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      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!

  8. You Are Not Complaining. Being Gifted is a Gift. But It Can Also Be Terribly Lonely. | Your Rainforest Mind

    […] misunderstandings. Communication chasms. Damaging misdiagnoses. Long excruciating periods of boredom/waiting. Hyper-awareness. Piles of responsibility. Nonstop thinking. Teeming emotion. Disabling […]

  9. SirenQueenOfHeart Avatar

    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.

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Sounds like you’ve experienced this. I hope that reading my blog will help you see that you’re not alone. <3

      1. SirenQueenOfHeart Avatar

        It’s helping me. I fear, searching for a competent therapist who specializes in gifted people is futile, being in a non-metro area. At least you’re talking to me. I feel like I’m lost in the desert.

        1. Paula Prober Avatar
          Paula Prober

          Not futile! There’s a therapist who works online out of New Zealand. You could contact her and see if she’d be a good match. Maggie Brown. And here’s a post that might help you find someone:

          1. SirenQueenOfHeart Avatar

            Thank you. 😢 I’ll check it out.

        2. Faith Currant Avatar
          Faith Currant

          Me too, here in Maine.

  10. bethanyautumn9 Avatar

    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.

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      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.

      1. bethanyautumn9 Avatar

        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.

      2. bethanyautumn9 Avatar

        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!”

        1. Paula Prober Avatar
          Paula Prober

          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!!

    2. Faith Currant Avatar
      Faith Currant

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

      1. bethanyautumn9 Avatar

        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.

        1. Paula Prober Avatar
          Paula Prober

          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!

  11. If I’m So Smart, Why Do I Feel So Lost and Alone? | Your Rainforest Mind

    […] the sun. You may have had a hard time not throwing a chair when your teacher told you that you must wait for the others to catch up, again. You may have wondered why teachers didn’t appreciate your corrections of […]

  12. Angela Avatar

    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!

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Thank you for sharing your example. It’s so unfortunate that your experience is so familiar. I’m glad that you found a great university program!

  13. A Nouveau Druid Avatar
    A Nouveau Druid

    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.

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Yes, they need us and each other!

  14. Jing Avatar

    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..

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      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!

  15. DmB Avatar

    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.

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      It’s still a mystery to me why children aren’t allowed to read in school!!

  16. bob Avatar


    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.

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Glad to have you here, bob.

  17. Stephanie Avatar

    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.

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      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.

    2. TREF Avatar

      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.

      1. Paula Prober Avatar
        Paula Prober

        You can see from this post, TREF, that you’re not alone! There are some good support groups on FB for parents of gifted kids that might help. has one you might check out.

  18. OS Avatar

    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!

  19. Laura MacMurchie Avatar
    Laura MacMurchie

    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.

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      I’m so glad you found my blog, Laura. Keep reading and commenting. Will love hearing from you.

  20. Angela Reid (@reidwrites) Avatar
    Angela Reid (@reidwrites)

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

  21. Linkables  – The Questing Child

    […] Gifted kids don’t have to wait […]

  22. sarahhyatt Avatar

    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.

    1. June Avatar

      That was painful to read. Besides having an adult refuse to believe you, I can bet she did not bother moderating her volume. That, in my experience, led to abuse from fellow students. “Oh, you think you are SO smart!”

      1. Paula Prober Avatar
        Paula Prober

        Yes. Painful. Thanks for sharing, June.

    2. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Sounds so familiar, Sarah. I’m glad that your college experience was satisfying. Thank you for sharing here.

  23. psam ordener Avatar
    psam ordener

    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.

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      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.

    2. Gabi Montoya-Eyerman Avatar
      Gabi Montoya-Eyerman

      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.

      1. Paula Prober Avatar
        Paula Prober

        I know it’s hard for teachers to differentiate if the classes are large but, like you say, Gabi, it’s possible. I did it, too, when I was a teacher. Thanks for sharing.

    3. ronel2016 Avatar

      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!

  24. “…Complicated, Confounded, and Chaoticized…” — Living With Gifted Minds | Your Rainforest Mind

    […] 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. […]

  25. Your Kids Are Gifted. Should You Tell Them? | Your Rainforest Mind

    […] are emotional, empathetic, and highly sensitive, they may have trouble in friendships and at school. Listen carefully to their experiences and help them find […]

  26. Seonaid Avatar

    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?

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      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.

    2. Cheryl Avatar

      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.

  27. Lynda Carter Avatar
    Lynda Carter

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

  28. Most Popular Posts of 2015 | Your Rainforest Mind

    […] Imagine A World Where Gifted Kids Don’t Have To Wait […]

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

    […] Imagine a World Where Gifted Kids Don’t Have to Wait, Paula Prober […]

  30. Trent Avatar

    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

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      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!

  31. Gabi Avatar

    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.

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      I’m glad you found me, too Gabi. Thanks for letting me know.

  32. whathabit Avatar

    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.

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts and your poem. And what a beautiful image with the poem. I shall have to explore your blog!

  33. holbart Avatar

    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. . .

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      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.

  34. holbart Avatar

    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.

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      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!

  35. Jacqueline Avatar

    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.

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      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.

  36. anon Avatar

    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?

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      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.

  37. shelley Avatar

    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.

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Sounds great, Shelley!

  38. Amy Avatar

    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.

    1. James Hargrave Avatar
      James Hargrave

      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.

      1. Paula Prober Avatar
        Paula Prober

        Thanks for sharing your perspective, James.

    2. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      Thanks for sharing, Amy.

  39. Lea Avatar

    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.

    1. Paula Prober Avatar
      Paula Prober

      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!