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GIFTED CHILDREN NEED...

a quote scrawled in Chris Wayan's 1980 journal


"Gifted children need to rest after a period of creativity. Overstimulation is not desirable, and when two or more gifted children get together they usually exhaust each other. It's been observed that most gifted children and geniuses, after a period of achievement, fall into depression: a stage of loneliness, sadness, anxiety, and fear of being left out. This is frequent in those with unlimited ability. It is a self-put-down, and sadness and unwanted tears come even in very young children's eyes. This depression should be watched by parents and particular attention paid to nutrition. Let them be alone for a time, but not too long. Encourage them to turn to artwork or perhaps take a nature walk to bring them out of their depression. If it lasts too long, parents may have to seek professional help...

Most gifted children seem not to seek the affection of others, including their families, at the peak of their creativity. They may even seem hostile, sarcastic, or unfriendly. Gifted kids often keep their way of thinking to themselves: the way they think IS different. After several frustrated attempts to explain their methods, they stop, unless they can discuss them with other gifted or understanding people."

I didn't write the author down of this quote down, but it's probably from CHILDREN ABOVE 180 IQ by Leta Hollingworth or THE DRAMA OF THE GIFTED CHILD by Alice Miller. In 1980 I was practically living in Stanford's education library, reading the (very few) books I could find on geniuses and child prodigies, trying to understand my own bizarre childhood.

This quote neatly summarizes my disastrous three-year affair with Kay, who was severely gifted too. I'm afraid when adult geniuses get together they fall into these traps just as readily as child prodigies do.

Think of all the lightning when two geniuses fall in love! Oh, they always explain it in such pretentious, abstract ways--ideological differences, egotism, betrayal... but I think this is all it is:

Two manic kids want to play together, but they're used to working alone. So they get over-excited... and tire themselves out.

Unwanted tears.

Oh--by the way. "Particular attention should be paid to nutrition." It's sure true in my case, and probably in yours, if you're a genius. Even the ordinary human brain uses 25% of the whole body's energy--that's a huge amount! Maybe genius's brains are simply more efficient, but maybe not; on average, the brilliant people I've met are a bit manic and they need:

---more calories, indeed more food, especially more protein. And they don't WANT to eat, they want to PLAY.

---WAY more B-complex and C...

---plus extra A when they stay up a lot. Computer screens destroy retinin; carotenes and A replenish that.

---extra calcium and magnesium to calm overexcitable nerves when they're coming down...

If you're severely gifted, try solving your existential problems with more and better food (and sleep), plus supplements. It works surprisingly well for me when I'm hot on the trail... and even better afterward, when I'm in post-creative depression. Loneliness, yes, but tears are getting rare.



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