I once heard someone refer to the curiosity of gifted kids as a rage to learn. I never forgot that reference because it is so accurate. Gifted children aren’t just curious. They are more than curious. Their curiosity is a real need, a need to know all they can on whatever topic they are interested. That need can be a strong as the need a man dying of thirst has for a drink of water. It really is a rage to learn.
Have you ever seen the movie “Short Circuit”? In it, a robot named Number Five is struck by lightening and comes to life, something like a metal Pinocchio. Number Five begins scanning books. Lots of books. He can’t seem to get enough information, frequently repeating “More input! More input!”
When I saw that movie, I immediately thought of my son. Once he learned to read, he couldn’t get enough information. I rarely bought books, not because I didn’t think books were important, but because my son rarely read the same book twice. And since he was reading, at age 4, a minimum of 16 books a week, it was much cheaper to borrow books from the library. I did end up buying some of his favorite books, which in the earlier years were almost always science reference books.
Imagine if Number Five’s new friends had kept books away from him. When he once scurried about pulling books from shelves, scanning book after book to consume information, he would most likely have first started misbehaving and eventually would have started winding down, with his lights become dimmer and dimmer. That’s what happens when we withhold information from our gifted kids. They become frustrated, often misbehave in school as their frustration becomes more and more intolerable until finally we see the light in their eyes created by their excitement over learning grow dimmer and dimmer.
When the rage to learn, the need for “more input” is not fulfilled, that light can burn out in the eyes of many gifted children by the time they reach the end of third grade, if not before. It’s a heartbreaking sight to any parent who has experienced it. The heartbreak is made worse when those parents are given the explanation that “Everything evens out in third grade.” If you are a parent who has gone through this experience, you can be assured that this is not always true.
Perhaps “hothoused” children lose their advantage over other kids by third grade, but that’s not true of gifted kids. A gifted child does not suddenly become “ungifted” in third grade. Instead, they are likely to have lost their rage to learn, after years of being left to languish unchallenged in school classrooms.http://giftsforlearning.com/wp/a-rage-to-learn/http://giftsforlearning.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/boy-with-pile-of-books.jpghttp://giftsforlearning.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/boy-with-pile-of-books-150x150.jpgAbout GiftednessEducationDefinitions,Gifted Traits