Child prodigy and genius – are two absolutely different concepts. In childhood, geniuses are often called “a strange boy”. So, Stephenson was such a “strange boy” – those around one thought he liked loitering his time away and sticking around kitchen for a whole day. But right in the kitchen this “idler” paid his attention to a strange behavior of boiling kettle’s lid, what further gave him an opportunity to become a creator of the first steam locomotive. Charles Darwin was also “strange” enough, he was romping with mice instead of doing lessons and his own father named him “a shame of their whole family”. Even Pushkin didn’t display any signs of genius in childhood. According to his sister’s words, he just drove his mother to despair by his awkwardness and reticence.
Most often, geniuses pass through lots of passions: Leonardo Da Vinci discovered his talent in many areas. Lomonosov’s sphere of knowledge and discoveries is spread from poetry to mathematics. The first passion of Galilei was painting, at 17 y.o. he began learning medicine and only later – mathematics. And there’re thousands of such examples. Another sign of genius is the independence of thinking and ability “to go against the stream”.
Child prodigy is quite another matter. This is a child with a bright talent, it’s impossible not to notice him. He’s head and shoulders above his coevals in some area. Adult people develop his skills, based most often on his excellent memory or trained body, and these are adults who think out an application for them. A child repeats the things adults taught him. He has too little of his own skills, as he’s just learning everything. But even skills are not the main thing for a child prodigy. It’s much more important, that adults would notice and begin developing them.
Mistakes of upbringing
In the beginning of life, all children are the same (excepting the ones who have some defect in their genes). Further, a lot depends on parents. Someones grow a child prodigy through wisdom and kindness. Others suppress inborn abilities of their children. Why does this happen? Experts consider that parents make 3 main mistakes while growing their children.
They confine a child’s liveliness. Motion develops not only muscles, as it may seem from the first sight, but also nervous system, organs of sense and thinking. A child that moves a lot outstrips a meek creature and lazy fellow in mental faculties. And what do parents do? They are harping on since his birth: “Don’t fall down, don’t push, don’t crash?” At school teachers make a child to sit there like stuffed dummy, although any psychologist will say that the more a child moves, the less he gets tired and easier learns school material.
They communicate with children little. A child is discovering the world, constantly asking questions: What? Where? When? Why? How? As a matter of fact, he solves for himself the same problems, which the most intelligent philosophers are busy with. Well, what his parents answer? “When you grow up, you’ll learn”, “This is too much information for you”. Parents should answer any question, although this is difficult and requires patience. But when a child grows up, you’ll need to encourage him to independent decisions. “Well, what do you think?” – ask him a counter question. And investigate whether he’s right or not with him for sure.
They refuse a child in joint action. A child undertakes to help you, and what does he usually hear? “Go aside, you’ll crash it”, “Don’t hinder, you’ll get hurt”. Parents offer him only a role of a servant: bring, give, hold. And this work is boring, there’re no discoveries in it. Allow a child to learn something with you, not staying in a subordinate position, but together. Only this way, handling skills over to a child in person, you can pass him the experience.
To be or not to be?
Recently, I met a friend, with whom we brought our boys to a swimming-pool some time ago. My son was studying unwillingly. It’s was just impossible to make him go all out. “Look, – a coach said after intensive training, – he’s even not tired”. On my requests for him to study more serious, he answered: “What for?” “Well, to swim better”, – I said. “What for? I swim well, anyway”. “To win first places”. He made me being nonplused by his question. Really, what for? What for the right for him, not for our parental vanity? And the second place in our town was a top of my son’s swimming carrier.
Well, my friend’s son was swimming effortlessly. He was in his element and received the great pleasure of it. Results were not in coming. He became the best in our town, in a whole area. A family changed a place of living: a talented boy needs expanse. His name flashed by in papers. And suddenly? “Firstly, – my friend told, – pains in liver, eyes disease and odd eruption on whole body appeared. Interest for training had gone. And then – sheer disgust for sport and strongest depression came”. A friend curses everybody: a couch, a government, a society? She even cannot assume that her son is just revaluing values. Probably, a purpose – a result, which adults put in front of him, doesn’t satisfy him anymore. He should come to his senses, find his place in life. If he is lucky enough.
Why do children prodigies “burn”? First of all, of course, because of excessive exploitation. Experts consider that a human being is not boundless, regardless of his strong genotype. And he will be devastated by 16-19 years without careful treatment to him.
Secondly, adults take off game from children prodigies. A small obedient human being is working hard in a swimming-pool, ice or drumming on the piano during hours daily. Whether somebody thought about what would happen with this child, if his talents would go away, or somebody would pass him, or he would just get tired? What will he do in his life, if in his past he had only wearisome work and struggle with rivals? Conceited parents put the only goal in front of their talented children – a championship. And it is well-known that struggle for the championship – is always a race with time. Delicate talented children cannot stand this race, break, drop out of a race. And if someone manages to reach the top, he suddenly understands: there’s only one road left – down. Children prodigies cannot just live, adults didn’t teach this to them.
So, parents should think three times, before putting their child’s talents for public commentary. Banally enough, talent doesn’t bear fuss. It should develop by itself. And when a child grows, he’ll deal with his talent by himself too.