Supersmart kids

by Finn

If we’re all honest with ourselves, many of us have very smart kids. Perhaps they’re not supersmart, but they’re well above average, and common topics of conversation here are related to our kids being smarter than their classmates, and sometimes smarter than their teachers.

So these accounts of a study of supersmart kids will likely be of interest. Some here have mentioned some level of participation in the Johns Hopkins programs for very bright middle schoolers, and my niece participated, but I was totally unaware that the program was part of such a study of supersmart kids and how to help them maximize their potentials.

How to Raise a Genius: Lessons from a 45-Year Study of Supersmart Children

Want to Raise Wildly Successful Kids? Science Says Do This for Them (but Their Schools Probably Won’t)

What are your takeaways from these articles? Do they suggest any possible directions you will take regarding the education of your kids?

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238 thoughts on “Supersmart kids

  1. I just have regular kids so this is not a huge issue for me. I try to encourage them and follow them when possible. That’s it.

  2. Not every child is truly gifted…true. Both my DDs were identified as potential candidates for the Duke Talent Identification Program. Both qualified at the state level and DD#1 at the higher level (name of it escapes me). Both attended summer programs (DD#1 did 2 and DD#1 has done 1). For DD#1 – her initial response was it is great to be around kids who pick up on material as fast as I do and we can keep moving rather than slogging along like we do in school. Her second take away, was other kids are quirky too. For DD#2 – her initial response was that her school, even though she was in accelerated math, was pretty far behind the kids who were in her summer program.

    I don’t think either of my kids is in the top 1%, but keeping them challenged in school before high school was very hard. You do come off as “that parent” who thinks their kid is better than the other kids.

    High school (DD#1 a junior, DD#2 a freshman) is still sort of hit and miss. Some classes are challenging material, others are challenging due to processes the kids must follow, and still others are pure time management challenges due to volume of work where the material may or may not be challenging. I’m now getting a lot of angst from parents of DD#2’s classmates that are at her HS. Basically, it is the first time some of the kids have been challenged and they are not handling it well. DD#2 related to me last week that she is doing OK because this is similar to the challenge she faced when first dx with mild learning disabilities. She seems to be pulling out the right strategies.

  3. Yesterday evening there was a lot of grumbling about homework, so all of us were in a bad mood. Prior to going to bed, a completed Math homework worksheet disappeared and somehow it was my fault, not the owner of the worksheet. Of course, after a bit of looking by me the worksheet was discovered under the bed. The owner of the worksheet was lectured on responbility. So, just a regular household here. We don’t even have a dog – no dog ate my homework excuse.

  4. Mine were identified as possiblities for that Johns Hopkins program. I went to an initial meeting, and was utterly creeped out. The person doing the presentation reminded me of nothing as much as an “admissions consultant” for a shady for-profit. I really felt it was all about money. Needless to say, we didn’t pursue it.

  5. I think the term “gifted” is part of the problem. That is just a hideous term. It smacks of entitlement.

  6. Duke Tips is big here. The kids are selected through the school. You get notified if your kid made it. Other than that don’t know much.

  7. For me, gifted would be the kid who has mastered in 5th grade. For the rest, it evens out over the lifetime.

  8. I don’t think that our kids are super smart. My trouble with them so far (esp #1) is trying to relate to the way they learn when it is NOT really fast and with little effort.

    I did one of the Hopkins programs when I was 12 prior to going to HS so I could learn algebra. It was great academically but the food was awful; I lost about 10 lbs in the 3 weeks I was there. Plus it was my first time away from home, I was one of the only kids to have a roommate, and my roommate was VERY ODD (even to me!) so that was not pleasant. My parents must have spent a fortune on the long-distance bills since I called them to cry and complain every night.

  9. Both my kids are “above average”. Their academic needs are fulfilled by the honors/AP/IB classes that they take in school. Most of the classes are fairly demanding and taught by qualified teachers. We never participated in the Hopkins or Duke programs due to lack of child (and parent) interest.

  10. My kids are too young to really know but I don’t think we have any 1%ers, just regular smart. My fourth grader tests high but also scores higher in reading than math. Had a conference with her teacher yesterday and her teacher actually brought up the wanting to make sure DD remains challenged due to the wide variety of intelligence in the classroom (not something I’m particularly concerned about as she seems happy). I’d be surprised if we pursued anything extra unless she was interested. She is in the gifted program at school (but roughly half the kids at the school are in the program so it’s not exclusive) and they just get pulled out once a week and do extra material which she enjoys. I encouraged her to try out for the reading team at school but she said she didn’t want to because she loves reading when she wants to read and doesn’t want to feel like she has to do it which seemed fair to me so we dropped it.

    I see both sides of the where to put resources argument. Is it better to pour a bunch of money into the truly gifted so they can hopefully make society better or is it a more worthy goal to pull up the average/below average kids so they don’t spend their time living at home with their parents playing video games (a la the conversation yesterday). I’m not sure what the answer is but it would be nice if we could do both.

  11. DS1 participated in the US Naval Academy Summer STEM program in the summer between his sophomore and junior years in high school. He loved it. We were all very impressed. It assumed everyone knew the basics of science and math and focused on application of science and math, with a lot of physical activity thrown in. It’s a very regimented program–assigned t-shirts, push ups, strict dorm rules, etc., so it’s not for everyone.

  12. I think I qualified for the Duke program a million years ago. I remember taking the SAT in junior high and doing well. Taking the test was fun – I was so bored in school those years. It was super promising – do well on the test and then do hard things with smart kids! Unfortunately, once I was accepted, I realized how ridiculous the whole thing was – my parents were not buying cross country plane tickets and paying a few thousand dollars for me to attend summer camp. (Currently, it’s $4k for a three week session).

    If we believe smart kids need enrichment, and we believe that economics shouldn’t dictate opportunity, perhaps we could expect the community colleges or school districts to offer such things.

  13. “her teacher actually brought up the wanting to make sure DD remains challenged due to the wide variety of intelligence in the classroom (not something I’m particularly concerned about as she seems happy)”

    Perhaps there is a causal relationship between your DD being happy and her teacher’s concern about keeping her challenged.

    IMO, you and your DD are lucky to have such a teacher.

    “Is it better to pour a bunch of money into the truly gifted so they can hopefully make society better or is it a more worthy goal to pull up the average/below average kids so they don’t spend their time living at home with their parents playing video games ”

    I don’t think it should be an either/or question. There are social costs to ignoring either group.

  14. “If we believe smart kids need enrichment, and we believe that economics shouldn’t dictate opportunity, perhaps we could expect the community colleges or school districts to offer such things.”

    It’s not likely to happen if the smart kids’ parents just expect the school districts or, especially, the CCs (I don’t think it’s part of the CC’s core mission). My perception is that smart kids’ parents need to advocate for their kids and be aware of their options, much more so than other parents, with the exception of special needs kids, a category into which really smart kids often fall.

  15. I don’t know how to evaluate this. Just as I think that a certain kind of grit is the differentiating factor for overall life success in navigating a life with some to many obstacles, no matter where one falls on the average to supersmart/super talented/super athletic spectrum, I also think that a certain kind of practical genius and avoidance of extreme bad luck is necessary for extraordinary success. The early identification summer programs are full of very bright students. The greatest positive effect is on those who for the first time find likeminded kids who love learning in general or math or singing or obscure sports and don’t mind a bit of nerdiness, or who acquire a mentor or benefactor who will nuture them in some fashion when they return home. For a kid who is already in a great school with academically inclined parents and financial resources, I am not sure that any of that is necessary.

  16. One of my kids has an IQ well above the norm. (The other wasn’t tested, but I’d guess he’s above average but maybe not as much as his brother.) The advice we’ve gotten was that DS1 should be around kids his own level, but should not skip grades (for social reasons) and that he may do well in a more progressive school and not a homework heavy program. The one or two schools that seeming fit those requirements admit only if there is room via attrition, are hard to get into, don’t seem to have other supports in place for other quirky behaviors and are ridiculously expensive. Schools with more accelerated programs are very homework heavy. So, he is in public school where the teacher has to teach the curriculum and where getting a near perfect score on the year end test means taking each chapter/unit test thereafter (to show the curriculum was covered). His OT is schedule during math because “he can make it up quickly”.

    Super frustrating. I am that parent at school, to little avail.

  17. Finn – yes she is lucky, she has a great teacher this year.

    I don’t think it should be either/or about where we put our resources but sometimes these articles seem to hand wring about how we are neglecting gifted kids. I think the gifted kids of the upper middle class and above will be fine as their parents will likely be tuned in to extra enrichment, etc. and can pay for it so the real question is how to find the gifted kids in poorer communities and make sure they are appropriately challenged since their schools are unlikely to be as challenging (totally generalizing here).

  18. I am a 0.1%-er, and I have the piece of paper from when I was very young saying so. If you believe / put credence that kind of stuff from a one-off test/observation. Which I don’t, really. I would want a time-series study, say every other year 3-5x before I’d draw any particular conclusion. There are tables which correlate SAT score to IQ http://www.iqcomparisonsite.com/SATIQ.aspx and using that I come out as more of a 5%-er as do 2 of my kids, so rightly or wrongly I kind of believe that measure more.

    My school clearly used that datum to place me in classes 4th-6th grades…I was in my regular classroom(s) 2-3 days/week and with other bright kids the other 2-3 days/week. We had at least one field trip/week (museums of all kinds, tide pools, the opera/symphony, historical places) and no homework associated with those specials, I guess so we could stay caught up with our regular schoolwork. I do remember causing my 1st grade math teacher a problem because I finished the math workbook the first week, so she just let me read during math. (I think she thought she’d cause the 2nd grade teacher a bigger problem if she gave me the 2nd grade math book).

    I don’t feel like I was unchallenged in school, and my grades would support that contention. Solid B student throughout my academic career, so perhaps an early adherent to the Rhett good-enough is good enough approach. The only way I feel academically/intellectually superior to many in the USA is my ability to learn foreign languages and my enjoyment of the challenge. Many/most here hate that stuff. (I do not think the ability to speak >2 languages is related to higher IQ worldwide…in many places normal people speak >2 languages and it’s considered routine.)

  19. Haven’t had time to read the articles completely, but there is a difference between the extremely gifted outliers and the merely really smart kids that many Totebaggers once were and are now raising. The former group can start college at 13, but wouldn’t the latter group greatly benefit simply from tracked classes, instead of being imprisoned in the fantasy world of differentiated instruction?

    My experience with kids in the latter group is that the best thing that can happen to them is to be confronted as early as possible with material that they must struggle to master. If they are forced to wait until college or graduate school for that confrontation, it will be much more difficult. The virtue of humility is particularly important when everything comes too easily.

  20. “It’s far better, Dweck says, to encourage a growth mindset, in which children believe that brains and talent are merely a starting point, and that abilities can be developed through hard work and continued intellectual risk-taking.”

    I have a 1% (possibly .5% or higher) kid who is now an adult. In hindsight, I wished I had provided him with a more challenging academic environment during grades 1-8 because then he may have developed a “growth mindset” and better work habits. But I was clueless and thought that consistent 99%+ scores just meant that he was doing well and that the public school could nurture his academic growth. One or two teachers in elementary school used to give him special assignments and let him read on his own during class time.

    Surprisingly, he found his tribe of smart slackers at his elite college. These were kids who were only moderately ambitious and didn’t find the extremely rigorous (sorry for that word!) curriculum overly challenging. So he continues to do well, but so far doesn’t seem to want to put in the hard work to achieve at the top of his field. That’s fine with me, as long as he is happy and enjoys his work.

  21. Kerri, I know that middle school might be boring for him, but it will get so much better when he can test into one of the top public high schools.

    I was surrounded by 3000+ gifted kids in HS, and I can still remember the top 1% of the kids in my grade. They really were special, and it was obvious even in a high school comprised of only gifted kids.

    No genius in our house, but I am surprised at how easily she breezes through “honors accel” math. I’m curious to see when she will start to really be challenged by the material instead of the volume of the work.

  22. Lauren – we’re thinking of seeing how he/they will do in a private, accelerated curriculum (heavy homework, no supports) school for next year/middle school. Assuming he/ they get in. Our MS public school options are depressing.

    In one breath his current teacher explained how she would keep him challenged and accelerate him through the material and in the next said he’d miss math for occupational therapy pullout.

  23. I certainly wasn’t one of those highly gifted outliers but I did skip a grade and I was happy that I did. The only downside was that it meant I was never legal to drink while in college. I often thought my oldest could have benefitted from skipping kindergarten – spending a year learning how to line up and how to count to 20 (which in the pre-CC era was one of the state math standards they had to meet) was pretty pointless for him. He had been in group childcare since he was a baby and knew how to line up perfectly well! He was fine on his “using his words” and sharing correctly. On the other hand, it wouldn’t have changed the fact that he slid through elementary school without anyone noticing that he had problems, simply because it was all so easy for him. And it would have meant facing middle school a year earlier which might have made his issues even worse. So, who knows?

    I think a lot of very smart kids have associated issues, ranging from autism spectrum to OCD to ADHD. Sometimes I wonder if those kinds of issues may be more common in the very gifted.

  24. Lauren said “I’m curious to see when she will start to really be challenged by the material instead of the volume of the work.”

    It may never happen, at least not until college.

  25. Identification of gifted kids is a real problem, especially in lower income schools or even in working class families. My husband is a shining example – he was the kid of a factory worker and was in a lousy school district (the state of CT tried to pull their accreditation several times). He went to a terrible Catholic school for elementary, and when he transferred to the middle school, he was tracked into the non college bound track mainly because he came from that school. But in his middle and high school, really, very few kids were college bound. In math, he was so far ahead that the teacher told him to go sit int the library so he wouldn’t distract the rest of the kids. He scored the highest score in the state on the MAA test but still no one identified him as gifted. Even a 800 on the math portion of the SAT didn’t seem to ring any bells. He was counseled to go to one of the directional state u’s or perhaps the local community college. Instead he went to the state flagship and majored in engineering. Still, I don’t think he ever hit his true competition until he was in a PhD program and took some specialized graduate math courses at Columbia (he was at NYU). OK, he ended up doing fine, but it took him more years to get there than it should have, and he spent his school years just sort of rattling around and bored. It could have been worse – his best friend, who was also really smart, got into endless trouble and ended up with a police record.

  26. This boat has pretty much sailed for us, though I am looking into T&G programs for the summer. Had I known then what I know now, I would’ve unschooled him or chanced it for a couple more months in East Germany.

  27. MM, I’ve always wondered where your vehement opposition to tracking comes from. Now we know! But it doesn’t sound to me like tracking was the problem, but crappy schools. My high school didn’t track anybody, but they didn’t think I was very smart, til test scores came in Sr year.

  28. What MM says – kids who have active parents and financial and other such resources will be fine in the big picture. However, other bright (or brilliant) kids do get left behind. Depending on what test you look at, I’m a 0.1-1%-er (and I think my brother is smarter), but we were routinely shut out of accelerated and AP classes because we didn’t fit the demographic (or perhaps study-skills expectations) for those students. This was in grades where 1/3 of the class was getting tracked to accelerated, 1/3 to remedial and the people making placement decisions clearly had our standardized tests at their fingertips. My mother, a teacher herself, was of the opinion that “the school knew best” and never complained. I’m argumentative and I figured out my way in (except with AP science – that was a clerical mistake that they let me in the class). My brother did not fare so well and I don’t think he has ever fully recovered from that.

  29. Ada – my mom never really challenged my schools either. In hindsight, part of it was lack of knowledge of other options and part of it was financial. She figured I’d be OK wherever. Never being all that challenged really bit me in the butt my first year of college and it took some time to recover. I’m trying not to make the same mistake with my kids, but I have to admit, its hard to find alternatives, financially and otherwise, without going to extremes.

  30. Lauren, what were kids’ attitudes like in an all-gifted school? What DS longs for is a class where it’s not nerdy to want to learn, where kids don’t look down on him for discussing and no one gets on him for finishing work early. He did a couple athletic of tech things when he was younger, because he thought they were fun, and got the impression that many of the other kids were there because their parents thought it was good for them. That was discouraging. He is smart, but not ready to start college. If grade school and middle school had been smoother, then maybe, but I don’t know. He is ok in his classes now, and pre-AP bio is challenging him (1st quarter is almost over & he has 89.8%–yikes!). Also important is that social things are going better–first crush, slowly making friends, dealing with a kid who says & does racist crap (he’s asked me not to step in, and I’m staying out because I expect he will need to know how to deal with this kind of thing later in life. I’ll ask the teacher to keep an eye on it, but let DS manage it). All those kinds of learning are important too.

    Fred, testing does take place at the schedule you suggested. DS was in that remedial class because of his score on the state tests last year. When I went in to talk to the reading coach, she looked over his past scores and said she could see clearly that he’s gifted, so she put him in the highest class.

  31. To use WCE’s analogy, the limiting reactant for my kids is drive / grit / organizational skills, not intelligence or curiosity.

    We’ve done the JHU CTY testing via an early SAT for my older two thus far, but haven’t actually done the programs. They qualify for the higher level programs, but wouldn’t clear the much higher bar to be in that special study. (Actually, technically my daughter hasn’t qualified yet because they’re not releasing the new SAT cutoffs till Saturday, but her scores are high enough that it’s not in doubt.) My oldest got a scholarship to take a class at a local college through the CTY testing, which he did the summer after 9th grade, and that was a nice chance for him work at a higher academic level. It was an online course so his classmates didn’t actually know he was 14 when doing the required weekly discussion group.

    Theater has been a good way for my oldest to find his people. My daughter finds friends wherever she goes. My youngest, though, is still looking for his group. He has friends, but not close friends, and he’d like to be able to share intellectual interests more.

  32. Finn is writing about my people. One of the mathematicians referred to (Lenny Ng) dated one of my fellow bridesmaids. Benbow was at Iowa State for over a decade before she married Lubinski (fellow professor, second husband) at went to Vanderbilt, in large part for the great tuition benefits for her large family. She ran the math camp at Iowa State and most of my long-term friends on Facebook are from math camp, not high school or college. Socially, it was a good thing for me.

    No one is going to learn anything new from what I would write today. :)

    The biggest difference in achievement from my math camp friends I see is related to home/family obligations. When someone linked to the article on the achievements of the Emanuel brothers, I noted that two of them have stay-at-home wives, and I thought, “It’s a lot easier to achieve at a high level when you have someone taking care of the home/family.”

    One benefit of math camp was realizing that if you were “kind of smart”, you should not plan a career in academia. One similar age woman has older kids, and it’s because she decided to do a “short” educational path and become a dentist. She and I both were not big on math proofs. People who love math proofs need more sitzfleisch than we have.

  33. At the start, both the study and the centre were open to young adolescents who scored in the top 1% on university entrance exams.Pioneering mathematicians Terence Tao and Lenhard Ng were one-percenters, as were Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Google co-founder Sergey Brin and musician Stefani Germanotta (Lady Gaga), who all passed through the Hopkins centre.

    Very interesting about Lady Gaga. I knew she was smart, but I didn’t know she was *that* smart.

  34. I think a lot of very smart kids have associated issues, ranging from autism spectrum to OCD to ADHD.

    Is that really the case or do non quirky kids slip through relatively undetected?

  35. HM, was your son required to take the class online, or is that simply the one he chose? And could you please tell me what the scholarship was/where it’s from?

  36. Some researchers and writers, notably psychologist Anders Ericsson at Florida State University in Tallahassee and author Malcolm Gladwell, have popularized the idea of an ability threshold. This holds that for individuals beyond a certain IQ barrier (120 is often cited), concentrated practice time is much more important than additional intellectual abilities in acquiring expertise. But data from SMPY and the Duke talent programme dispute that hypothesis. A study published this year compared the outcomes of students in the top 1% of childhood intellectual ability with those in the top 0.01%. Whereas the first group gain advanced degrees at about 25 times the rate of the general population, the more elite students earn PhDs at about 50 times the base rate.

    Um, those numbers do not dispute the ability threshold hypothesis. If the top 1% of the general population get advanced degrees at 25x the rate of the general population as a whole, and the top 1% of the top 1% (the top .01%) get advanced degrees at 2x the rate of the top 1% as a whole (50x the rate of the general population), that in fact supports the ability threshold hypothesis. You take the top 1/100 of the general population and wow! that group is 25x more likely to get an advanced degree than the pool as a whole! Now you start with that elite group, and take the top 1/100 of the elite group, and this super-elite group is only twice as likely to get an advanced degree as the elite group as a whole — apparently they’ve passed an ability threshold beyond which increased IQ doesn’t play nearly so significant a role.

  37. I don’t know about the truly gifted kids but with my kids, being at a Totebaggy school, means plenty of Totebaggy juniors who are smart. So, the focus always is what areas my kids can improve upon and what they can work on.

  38. Mine are fairly average. Smart enough to get to college and do just fine but not in the gifted category and frankly not that driven. I will just follow along this conversation as an observer.

  39. SM, he wasn’t required to do an online course, but a majority of the summer session courses were online ones, including the one that interested him. The scholarship was through the JHU CTY program in collaboration with a local college — he did the ‘talent search’ and took the SAT in 8th grade, and the next summer or fall got a letter saying he’d been awarded a scholarship by the local college based on his scores and to contact the college directly to make the arrangements.

    If your son is interested in doing an online college course for credit, I can tell you that Oregon State has a good online program and they don’t charge out-of-state tuition for online classes. You might also look into whether Florida’s community colleges have a program for high school students to take classes online or in person.

  40. Even though it was tough to gain entry, kids are still teens and the same social cliques form in a large HS. There are fewer athletes, and no Friday night lights. There are chess champions, and Intel finalists, but many kids are still interested in all of the other typical activities and sports that exist in a large school. pushing those activities. Nerds will still be labeled as nerds, but there will be plenty of people to hang out with at lunch with similar interests. They’re not sitting at the popular table, but they’re not isolated. There is respect for the really smart kids, and there is less pressure to always conform.

    There was still, and continues to be underage drinking, smoking, and drugs. The typical HS stuff still goes on with a large portion of the students.

  41. “It’s a lot easier to achieve at a high level when you have someone taking care of the home/family.” Absolutely! Makes me laugh out loud to think otherwise.

    I clearly did not go as far with math as you did, but I loved doing geometric proofs! Pragmatic applications bored me and were harder to sit still for.

  42. Mia, my kiddo’s drive has plummeted as he’s become aware of his peers. That’s why I’m hoping a G&T camp will encourage him.

  43. Thanks HM! Even though he won’t fit in physically, I think a face to face class would be better for my kid than on-line. He takes the SAT in a few weeks. After the reading class, I think he knows better than to blow it off. I have no ideas what his scores will be.

  44. HM-I could have used your kid here last weekend on my farm. Earlier this year, DH traded work for a sorghum press. All day Saturday was spent cutting the sorghum and processing it. We could have used an extra set of hands! Not we have lots of sorghum. Not sure what we are going to do with it….guess everyone will get a pint of the stuff for Christmas. DH always has crazy new ideas.
    Do you want to send your son here for the winter? That is when we need the most help. Don’t know if the local hs caters to gifted kids, but it does offer plenty of AP and duel enrollment classes.

  45. HM, I’ve heard the “ability threshold hypothesis” as “High vs very high IQ doesn’t make ANY difference.”

    Maybe our difference of opinion is whether a 2x “relative risk” of getting a PhD is “significant”. Also, when they look at other metrics (prestige of schools where people are professors after they get their PhD’s, etc.), the “relative risk of high achievement between 0.1% and 1% in measured aptitidue” is more than 2x.

  46. “Even a 800 on the math portion of the SAT didn’t seem to ring any bells.”

    In one of the College Confidential threads about NMSF/NMF, there are quite a few posts from parents whose kids’ schools seem pretty clueless about the NM program in general. The step from NMSF to NMF requires action on the part of the schools, and those posts make me believe that the reason a significant portion of the kids who don’t make that step is because of their HS administrators/counselors not following through on their behalves.

    BTW, NMSF is nominally the top ~1%. NM Commended is a bit more than the top 3%.

    I’m thinking that beween the regulars here, their kids, spouses, sibs, and other relatives, we know quite a few 1%ers.

  47. Sheep Farmer, in all seriousness it probably would be really good for him, and he’s a strong teen boy who could be of actual assistance. However, I suspect he’d be reluctant to do it; among other things, he really lives for that theater program of his. I’ll run it by him, though!

    And it’s probably too late to get your sorghum syrup in the Zingermann’s catalog as an artisinal product, but you could package it up with the pre-mixed dry ingredients and the recipe for something like this for a unique and tasty gift.

    WCE, that second step was going from 1% to .01%, so the 2x relative risk is a lot less impressive than if it had been from 1% to .1%. And I agree that 2x is still significant; my point was that it was such a big drop off from the 25x relative risk when the general population was narrowed to 1/100 that it suggested that higher IQ was playing much less of a role in determining relative risk when going from the entire top 1% to the top 1% of the top 1%.

  48. To be clear, I’m not arguing that those numbers suggest that past the threshold, increased IQ makes *zero* difference. I’m arguing that they suggest that past a threshold, other factors gain in relative importance.

  49. “I’m thinking that beween the regulars here, their kids, spouses, sibs, and other relatives, we know quite a few 1%ers.”

    That’s what I was thinking . . .

  50. HM, agreed. I think I wasn’t paying attention to the details very well. The other point is that certain fields (electromagnetics; string theory) are spatially intensive compared to other STEM fields like, say, evolutionary biology or analytical chemistry.

    saac, Mr WCE (another JHU middle school SAT alum) would not have met the criteria for “high achievement” before I started staying home with the kids. Then he took another (more time demanding/inflexible) job that let him achieve those criteria. He didn’t get more intelligent when I left to be home with the kids, but he did have the flexibility and time to work at the cutting edge of technology and surmount obstacles he might not have surmounted with his previous time constraints.

  51. “What DS longs for is a class where it’s not nerdy to want to learn, where kids don’t look down on him for discussing and no one gets on him for finishing work early.”

    I don’t know if you heard mentioned this before your hiatus, but IMO, a key parental role is to put kids in situations where they will have good peer groups. If you’re considering a summer program for him that might put him in that sort of situation, now’s as good a time to start looking as any.

    “He is smart, but not ready to start college.”

    I’m not sure about that; I am guessing that his SAT score will tell you that he is ready, at least academically, for college. Your son might be like student zero, who benefited socially from starting college early.

  52. I agree 100% that if the parent doesn’t have the interest and/or bandwidth to advocate for their child, the child may lose out. My mom didn’t really have a clue how to advocate for me in school and it definitely affected my 6-9th grade years negatively as well as my perception of my abilities until I was in the workforce.

  53. Yes, the importance of spatial ability was an interesting angle that really isn’t covered by current standardized testing. And it’s bad if you keep forgetting which hand goes with which rule in electromagnetics. Incidentally, I have a string theory article bookmarked to send in a post on.

  54. HM, I’m curious about which theater program your DS is in (but feel free to not mention it if it could out you). One of DS’ best friends, and some family friends of ours, spend a lot of time in one theater program, while a good friend of his has been in a number of productions at the theater closer to your kids’ school (mine too).

    DS has participated in school theater, playing in the pit.

  55. “wouldn’t the latter group greatly benefit simply from tracked classes, instead of being imprisoned in the fantasy world of differentiated instruction?”

    ITA (and I’m quite sure WCE does too). One takeaway for me was that it was good to have a study confirm this.

  56. “Very interesting about Lady Gaga. I knew she was smart, but I didn’t know she was *that* smart.”

    I’ve heard her talk about the difficulties she had fitting in during MS and HS, which seems to be common among the very smart and supersmart.

  57. Completely off-topic, but triggered by the mention of sorghum: Have you ever seen the Chinese movie Red Sorghum? It’s cinematically breathtaking. It’s also very unlike most American movies in almost any way you can think of. It gets a little rough occasionally. It’s set in 1930s China and towards the end the Japanese guys flay one of the Chinese farmers. So, uh, trigger warning for flaying. Anyway, it’s stayed with me since I saw it in the 80s.

  58. “Finn is writing about my people.”

    Somehow, this does not come as a surprise.

    “most of my long-term friends on Facebook are from math camp, not high school or college.”

    I suspect this would be less so had you attended MIT.

    Are you going to send your kids to math camp?

  59. I think spatial ability is more important that most people recognize, especially once you reach higher math. I confess to testing my own kids using legos :)

    It would make me very happy if my district dropped differentiated instruction and returned to tracking at the elementary level, but it is never going to happen.

  60. The fact that the local school district had moved from homogeneous to heterogeneous class groupings made it easier for me to go along with sending our kids to private school. In hindsight, that decision by the school district worked out well for us.

  61. Maybe our difference of opinion is whether a 2x “relative risk” of getting a PhD is “significant”

    I like your use of relative risk.

    I have the hardest time understanding everyone’s end game. Is it academic success for its own sake, professional success, financial success, a happy but modest family life?

  62. I have the hardest time understanding everyone’s end game. Is it academic success for its own sake, professional success, financial success, a happy but modest family life?

    Little of all of those. I’m speaking from an earlier generation, when tenure was an actual possibility. If I hadn’t hated every living minute of it, I could have lived in Chico, bought a modest house and eventually traded up to a better house. I had excellent health insurance and an awesome defined benefit retirement plan. Once you get tenure, you don’t have to work all that hard. Some people still do, but you don’t have to. Summers off. Plenty of time to travel. In ye olden days, it wasn’t a bad life. Now it sucks rocks because all new hires are adjuncts.

  63. I have the hardest time understanding everyone’s end game. Is it academic success for its own sake, professional success, financial success, a happy but modest family life?

    My daughter asked yesterday what I carry around in my work tote and I told her, “Nuclear secrets, diamonds, a timeturner.” So, I guess power, riches, and the ability to bend time to my wishes?

    Dang, I’m doing this wrong.

  64. “I have the hardest time understanding everyone’s end game.”

    Personally, I value security and a comfortable life (I believe I’m not unlike LfB in that regard).

  65. RE: the social. The sample in the story is 1 for the social issues not making a difference. I went to school with a guy who was named a McArthur Genius but was always just in the regular school, took AP classes and the like but nothing crazy. He was and continues to be super social so I don’t know that you can draw a line and say the social doesn’t matter. As with everything it depends on the kid. I for one, think that school is as much about being a part of a community, learning how to make friends and how to socialize effectively as it is the academics. Unless you are a super duper, super genius (and even if you are) you will likely need to learn how to socialize with the hoi polloi as there are more of them than your peers.

  66. Personally, I value security and a comfortable life (I believe I’m not unlike LfB in that regard).

    Your life hasn’t been particularly comfortable from what you’ve mentioned.

  67. The socially skilled smart people probably do benefit from learning to socialize well with a range of people. The unsocially skilled smart people (although it’s not a binary distribution) don’t necessarily understand why other people don’t like the books and games they like, especially in elementary school.

    I remember being frustrated in second grade because my friend always wanted to play Strawberry Shortcake or Barbies and never Scrabble, all options at her house. At the time, I thought she was just never willing to play Scrabble because she didn’t care that I liked Scrabble and she liked dolls. The 7 year olds who figure out the real story are probably in the “socially skilled” half of the distribution.

  68. I thought Rhett was talking specifically about people who broke their ankles and fell into doctoral programs.

  69. WCE are you saying that the unskilled socially shouldn’t even bother trying to develop those skills? There are a lot of really brilliant people who don’t achieve financially as well as they could if there were more socially skilled.

  70. I’m late to the discussion and really have nothing to add. I have super smart kids. DD2 skipped a grade, which is hands down the best parenting decision we have made. She had no friends before she skipped, made a close group of friends after she skipped. Friends are very important to her. She is a highly social extrovert. As I’ve mentioned before, she is almost a full slate of offices in her various organizations. E.g., this year, she is president, vice president, secretary, treasurer and parliamentarian in six organizations. She is secretary in two organizations. she also plays three sports and, right now, is ranked first in her class. Recently, the family has been amused by her revelation that her classmates don’t think she is smart.

    I think kids are happy when they have a reasonable level of challenge for them, and a fair bit of success in whatever they are really good at.

  71. I think the socially unskilled should get help to develop those skills. But there should also be some awareness/understanding that people are more likely to develop friendships with people who are relatively similar to them IQ wise, if for no other reason that those people are more likely to get their jokes.

    Seriously, how did we all end up here?

  72. The distaste of hearing “no problem” instead of “you’re welcome” was discussed a few days ago. Just now I got “no problem” as the first auto-response choice on my text message app in response to a thank you text I received. A bunch of gif choices also came up, and I selected the Full House kid captioned with “you got it, dude”. Maybe that will become my new standard response to thank you. (I’m sure the text recipient was rolling her eyes when she saw my response.)

  73. I find the discussion of “relative risk” of PhDs interesting. Isn’t it plausible that those in the 99.9 or greater range are more likely than 99s to get a PhD precisely because they wouldn’t fit anywhere outside academia? It doesn’t disprove the threshold theory – both groups may have sufficient ability, while one sees the PhD as more appealing relative to other options.

  74. Moxie, I think there is probably financial benefit to developing social skills with “above average” people but there was probably no financial benefit to developing social skills to interact with the developmentally disabled adults who rode the city bus with me in high school. It was still useful and interesting to learn to interact better with them. So no, I’m not saying that socially unskilled people shouldn’t try. I’m agreeing with Cordelia that most of us feel most at home with people who “get it” and that expecting children to recognize when other people don’t “get it” and make allowances is to ask a lot.

    When I disagree with others on this blog about the importance of IQ, I think it’s usually because the people I’m disagreeing with haven’t interacted much with those in the lower third of the distribution.

  75. There are a lot of really brilliant people who don’t achieve financially as well as they could if there were more socially skilled.

    If you’re natually gifted when it comes to calculus, you should use some of that extra bandwidth to fake an interest in Strawberry Shortcake. If you natually love Strawberry Shortcake, you should use some of that extra bandwidth to fake an interest in calculus.

  76. I feel so….not-smart next to all of you. I’m not in the 1% or probably anywhere near it. I think that in life, unless you have a really technical job, you need a base level of intelligence. The important factors for success are grit, social skills, leadership skills, and willingness to take risk.

  77. Houston – I suspect that you just have a little more humility than most. And a high enough EQ to understand that talking about how smart one is, even with other smart people, gets tiresome after a while.

  78. Cordelia – I totally agree that kids, heck everyone needs someone to belong to but if you only hang out with people who act and think like you it can be limiting. Clearly I strongly believe that there is a strong social aspect to success and happiness but that’s my perspective. Others may have a different view.

  79. ABJ, that’s a good point.

    One thing I didn’t consider (and which cuts the other way) is that you can only increase the percentage of people in the having-a-PhD category up to 100%, so it’s going to be much harder to achieve an impressive increase in a subset of an already-PhD-saturated pool. I just googled the percentage of the population with a PhD and got 1.5% ( https://www.reference.com/education/percentage-americans-phd-2508f1120884e2a3 ), so going by the numbers from the article, that would make it 37.5% of the top 1% with a PhD, and 75% of the top 0.01%. In other words, it wouldn’t have been possible for the top 0.01% to have PhDs at even 3x the rate of the top 1%, much less 25x, because the top 1% was already a PhD-saturated pool.

  80. I strongly agree with ABJ’s comment that for some bright people, academia is the best option, even though it’s not the most lucrative. Some people are intensely curious and passionate about an intellectual topic. I was never one of those people, but at some level I “get” them.

  81. L, tragically, the actual contents of my tote are more like ‘appointment reminder card, apple, umbrella.’

  82. high enough EQ to understand that talking about how smart one is, even with other smart people, gets tiresome after a while

  83. HM and Moxie have made me think about a friend who studied string theory. I think she’s happy in her job (physics professor), she is married with children and they make enough money for the life that they want to live. She probably could have made more money in finance but she likes the life she has. Money is also a threshold variable.

  84. Rhett, I suppose it depends on how one defines success.

    All kinds: Personal, professional, familial, etc.

  85. Rhett, you’ve tempted me to write a post, because that question (What is success?) is too hard.

    I think any aspect of humanity in which we’re unique becomes an area of emphasis for us, because it is in that aspect that norms don’t fit us. My fellow mom at school who is a former model has entirely different ideas of “nice” make-up and hair than I do. She politely agrees that I made an excellent career choice by becoming an engineer instead of a model.

  86. I feel so….not-smart next to all of you. I’m not in the 1% or probably anywhere near it. I think that in life, unless you have a really technical job, you need a base level of intelligence. The important factors for success are grit, social skills, leadership skills, and willingness to take risk.

    I totally agree with this. I also agree with anon that you are much smarter than you are willing to admit.

  87. I think there is “average”, and then there is “tote bag average” – and “not-smart” and “tote bag not smart”. With few exceptions, I doubt anyone commenting here has a child that is “average” or is “not smart.”

    I interact with average people every day. They don’t have college degrees. They cannot recall the names of medications they have been taking daily for years, or the names of the medications they are allergic to. They have incisions on their bodies and they don’t remember why. I’m sure if I had a chance to ask them about their finances or household management, I could find other ways to be horrified. (An aside: my 3-year old took aspirin and another medication for a period of about 6 months. I made sure she could repeat their names to anyone who asked. Huge pet peeve of mine, made less of a daily issue now with more reliable electronic medical records).

    Most people on this blog are very insulated from “average”.

  88. On success and what it means to be happy….I have relatives who were brilliant but some were also afflicted by mental illness and some were socially very shy. These two things prevented them from fulfilling their early potential. I also saw friends doing well at school but rebelling later in life.
    OTHOH there were people in my extended family who went for jobs that didn’t really require college degrees but paid well enough. There were some people who ended up in jobs more fitted to their non academic skills and did very well. Those people have families, kids and are happy.
    When younger I would have given you a different definition of success but now my take is different.

  89. I interact with average people every day. They don’t have college degrees. They cannot recall the names of medications they have been taking daily for years, or the names of the medications they are allergic to. They have incisions on their bodies and they don’t remember why.

    I’m not so sure about that. I’m willing to bet that at any given time, the median patient in an ER is notably below average.

  90. They cannot recall the names of medications they have been taking daily for years,

    Does quick tally in heads…phew.

  91. WCE,

    A typical totebag parent with a cute and outgoing kid who happens to be bad at math is never going to say, “You can’t fix stupid. You better just concentrate on being cute and outgoing.” They would say,” You at least need to make your best effort in math.” On the other hand, I get the impression that many would tell a plain and quirky kid that happens to be good at math, “Nothing wrong with pain and quirky, just concentrate on your strengths.”

    The reality is both kids can benefit from working on their weaknesses.

  92. I take several medications and sometimes forget the names when asked by a doctor. I guess I’m below average.

  93. I have an app on my phone that tells me all three of my medications and the dosages. If I’m stressed out (like suddenly in the ER) I can start stammering and screw up the names (uh, cimetidine? No, no, citalopram).

  94. I would also guess that they are anxious and stressed out because they landed ER making them forget the names of meds they take.
    I am decidedly average and underachieving. Also think that raw intelligence is not a predictor of success or happiness!

  95. Maybe we need a better metric for “average.” One of the questions Charles Murray used for his “do you live in a bubble test?” was about getting C’s in high school.

  96. “One of the questions Charles Murray used for his “do you live in a bubble test?” was about getting C’s in high school.”

    I recently congratulated my Dad on raising his Murray score by being the first person in our family to buy a pickup truck (and that includes grandparents, aunts, uncles…). Of course, he bought the least truck-ish truck you can get:

    mainly for easier transporting of bikes and kayaks.

  97. The short game from my perspective for my children when they were still at home was to find them some environment where they would feel comfortable. Not a peer group to protect them or a school to maximize their potential, but a place that was not too bad a fit. The medium term game was for each to become a productive self supporting adult. I confess that I would not consider it a success if a child chose to rely on someone else for financial support. The long game is to look back and have extended periods of one’s life at any age when life afforded joy and a reasonable measure of control over one’s time and environment. I really had the fantasy of seeing my children on the cover of the NYT magazine as an example of a diverse highly successful family, once I knew I would never achieve that level of success. But realistically, being self supporting and in control (to the extent anyone can be) is my end game.

  98. And Ada’s comment, while making a very important point about our totebag bubble, also illustrates how hard it is for a professional to understand that the average person of any intelligence level may not be paying attention to what our profession thinks is important. A tax accountant or financial/legal advisor knows that very smart people on their own are likely to make large tax and financial mistakes or omissions. That is why we get paid.

  99. I have a very introverted kid. I do try to get her to be OK with talking to other people. It has improved some at her HS. However, we went to a college presentation earlier this week with 5 schools there. The presenter talked about how you can “create” your own program. I saw her get pale….she like the presentation until then…as that would mean a lot of talking to a lot of different people. Afterward, I asked her which schools were appealing…the ones that most frequently mentioned discussion groups in class and navigating the system that meant lots of interaction with people were not mentioned.

  100. Thanks Anon and Denver. I agree that we have a different standard for intelligence and success here v. in the “real world”.

    Milo: A Honda Ridgeline (which I think the picture shows) does not count as a truck for the Murray score. : )

  101. AustinMom – In my early career, I got a lot of feedback to speak out. It was along the lines of, you have good ideas but how do people know, about those ideas if you don’t voice them ? I learnt to speak up and even if some meetings were tough, many more interactions were very productive. My reputation improved outside of my immediate colleagues.
    I think school and college are definitely places where development of speaking up is to be encouraged because one is expected to speak up in the workplace.

  102. “A Honda Ridgeline (which I think the picture shows) does not count as a truck for the Murray score. : )”

    And that’s how we know you’re a Texan.

  103. “I think kids are happy when they have a reasonable level of challenge for them, and a fair bit of success in whatever they are really good at.”

    I agree with this.

    I also with Rhett that is it important to make sure your kids stretch their social skills as well. We spend most of our conferences with DS’s teachers talking about his social/emotional development rather than his academics, which are fine. He’s not a terribly awkward/quirky kid or anything, but he’s going to be fine academically, so I worry less about that. When he was younger, he was definitely behind the other kids socially and emotionally, so it was something that we kept our eye on. It’s not like we are trying to change him into a different person – just to teach him manners and the basics of how to be a good friend, how to work with other people, etc. We want him to be him, but we also want him to be successful in EQ as well as IQ.

  104. “The long game is to look back and have extended periods of one’s life at any age when life afforded joy and a reasonable measure of control over one’s time and environment. … realistically, being self supporting and in control (to the extent anyone can be) is my end game.”

    Joy and control. Hmm, this resonates with me and I would hope this for my children. I relate to the control part, and I wonder if that’s an unusual perspective, or maybe a fantasy as some believe. I value having choices.

  105. “Most people on this blog are very insulated from “average”.”

    OK, so my kids have all gone to the same private schools k-12. Talking at dinner one night last week, the last one, senior, said one of the other kids on the football team missed school & practice that day because he had to go to the funeral of a neighborhood kid he’d known since he was little who was shot and killed at home. Yes, shot and killed at home. DS said his classmate told him it was not the first such funeral he’d gone to.

    This really struck me.

    Yes, we live in a totally different world than many, even those who are lucky, privileged, enough (thru financial aid) to attend the same great school as my kids.

    And we wonder why smart kids growing up in poverty & rough neighborhoods have a tough time doing well/paying attention in school (regardless of how “good” the school is, or the level — elem, MS, HS, college).

    Now what action do I take to do my ever-so-small part to be part of the solution?

  106. Most of my parenting effort goes into social skills. Of my boys, the most challenging one is challenging in large part because he has no desire to comply. He’s the one where I often think, “The Marines are always hiring.”
    I remember noticing in preschool that the daughter of a counselor knew who was friends with whom and was sensitive to anyone left out in the 12 person class. At the same time, we were working with the twins to not hit each other. I realized then what “socially advanced” looked like. But “not hitting each other” was the right step then in the social skills progression.

  107. “Of my boys, the most challenging one is challenging in large part because he has no desire to comply. He’s the one where I often think, “The Marines are always hiring.”

    That does not sound like a good fit! =)

  108. “The Marines are always hiring.”

    You’re quoting my old XO, right? That was one of his many profound expressions.

  109. WCE – our #1 child seems to have excellent social skills, but only at school. Never at home. We have to repeat ourselves so many times to get her to listen, and good luck getting her to do anything without an eye roll!

  110. Milo, probably your XO and my Dad. I’ve been thinking about the Marines more often after reading Hillbilly Elegy which is probably why I made the comment. It’s hard to tell what my boys will be like in another decade, but if they can’t handle the freedom of college, the structure of the military may be a good fit. I can imagine volatile twin thriving in the competition of the nuclear school- he is very competitive, and that’s not currently a highly valued elementary school social skill.

  111. WCE – being competitive in a productive way, is a good skill to have. I don’t view it as a negative.

  112. “Now what action do I take to do my ever-so-small part to be part of the solution?”

    When you find out, let me know.

  113. WCE, have a friend who’s son went to big state school, couldn’t manage the fun. Ended up in special forces and is all in and total 180. Who knows. They are equal parts proud and terrified!

  114. Re: social and academic skills. I have found that it is easier for kids to improve/manage/use their social skills when they are in an appropriate academic environment. It is really hard to spend all day in school being different, e.g. reading under your desk, not expected to participate in class, not allowed to participate in the academic incentives and then work on additional social skills on top of sitting quietly, while being bored and clearly wrong in some way.

    If a child is in an appropriate academic setting where they get a chance to learn everyday and are not singled out as somehow not belonging in a class, the social aspect gets easier. A person, even a kid, has only so much energy and if a huge part of it is putting up a brave face because they are “wrong” they don’t have the energy remake themselves to fit in.

  115. Cordelia that is exactly what I meant for the short run goal for a successful environment in childhood. Beautifully put

  116. PTM on the new post: I was struggling to get over the privileged tone of yesterday’s post.

    You know, this is why my daughter hides her intelligence so much. (As does Cordelia’s younger daughter too, it sounds like?) Not meaning to pick on just PTM here — we had at least one other comment to similar effect above, even though smart kids was the actual topic of the day. It’s just not an acceptable topic of discussion. My daughter has a good social sense and long ago picked up that being a good student and a band nerd is all fine and supported, but let’s not get too crazy on learning ahead or geeking out over abstruse topics. In preschool she used to read books to the other kids — reading upside-down like the teachers so she could show the circle of kids the pictures as she read. (The teachers loved it — a mini-break every afternoon!) But then to fit in better in K, she learned the rules of phonics to a high degree of mastery since that’s what everyone was working on together, and just quietly read her chapter books on her own time. She participated in one math meet by special invitation — they were short one and needed a ringer — but she won’t join the team. I worry that she hides it so much that she fools herself, but then I remind myself that putting her energy into maintaining her social networks, athletics, etc., pays its own dividends, and she’s certainly happy with the balance she’s found.

  117. It is interesting to see or rather to read, what each poster thinks is appropriate or not appropriate based on their own baggage!

  118. But HM, PTM’s son has some developmental delays, so a big discussion of “Totebag kids: eight times smarter than Stephen Hawking, or only six times smarter?” is liable to chafe. Or I could be speaking out of turn, and PTM can bitch-slap me.

  119. But some Totebaggers have healthy kids and some of us have kids with chronic illnesses. It’s ok to talk about rambunctious healthy kids and it would be inappropriate and unkind to suggest that have a healthy kid is a form of “privilege”

  120. Hm, would you still feel the same way if someone always showed off their money/beauty what have you?

  121. “our #1 child seems to have excellent social skills, but only at school.”

    This is one instance of a common phenomenon. Another is how my kids, in preschool, were very good about always putting things away as soon as they were done with them.

  122. Dell, I don’t see my son as baggage. I am sorry that some might.

    HM, I feel very sad that some kids have to hide their intelligence. But I think their intelligence is their

    s– the kid’s, not the grandparents’, parents’ next door neighbor’s, Garrison Keillor’s or anyone else’s.

    I certainly had to “dumb down” on many occasions as a middle and high schooler. For me, it was easy. I think people always have thought I’m smarter than I am.

    But I’m okay dealing with average people. I think they are perfectly fine. And for what it’s worth, I can’t remember the names of my prescriptions because I cannot pronounce them in all their generic versions. I carry something around with me, though that lists them.

    I didn’t like the tone of this discussion because I thought we were self-congratulatory, and we are on many things. And I am more than sorry that I seem to have unloaded my baggage.

  123. ” smart kids was the actual topic of the day. It’s just not an acceptable topic of discussion.”

    One of the things that initially drew me in to actually posting on TOS, after an extending period of lurking, was that it was a place where it seemed to be OK to honestly discuss such issues that IRL are often not acceptable, and that many of the posters were open about being well above average, and having kids well above average. But issues not typically discussed openly IRL that were discussed openly and civilly there, and here, were/are not limited to those associated with being above average.

    A lot of the things I post here are not things I discuss IRL outside our immediate family.

  124. PTM, I was not referring to your son as baggage! Sorry if you felt so! I was making a general statement about all posters here. How their issues or baggage shape their view of what is acceptable and what is not. Each posters views on racism, police brutality, religion, Immigrants, even Duggars are shaped by their own issues, and I was making a general observation about it.

  125. Hm, would you still feel the same way if someone always showed off their money/beauty what have you?

    You mean like wearing a bikini, or willingly admitting to living in a nice neighborhood and traveling during the summer?

  126. Um, more like wearing the latest clothing/accessories, bragging about their travels, etc. I think the other kids would treat someone like that exactly like they would treat someone who shows off their intelligence. Intelligence, like beauty or parents money, is not self earned.

  127. Dell, it sounds like you still are. It’s okay. I’m not mad or even unduly offended. And I respect your viewpoints as you express them well.

  128. Sorry PTM. I can see why you would feel so. Right now I feel like I I try to make my comment any clearer or explain it away, I might offend someone else, when I have been thinking about it for a while now. So I am going to stop now.

  129. Good reminder for me to update the list of my prescription meds that I keep in my wallet (the list, not the meds themselves). While I’m at it will be a good time to also create some ICE contact cards for DW and the kids, especially DS before he flies the nest.

  130. Dell, it sounds like you’re equating not hiding one’s intelligence to showing it off.

    Which is, in fact, the way society views it and is exactly why my daughter hides it and I usually play it down myself, I know this, duh, sorry I even brought it up.

  131. My comment is just about middle school kids.

    I do think that kids show off their stuff, test scores, clothes, etc. “Kids” is broadly defined as 0 -18 years, and I think that some kids will label a really smart kid as a nerd. This will happen even if the smart kid doesn’t brag, or share their grades. There are definitely kids in middle school that can still get perfect grades just by studying a lot, and working hard to achieve high grades. I don’t think this is a reflection of how smart they are because some of the public schools don’t have more challenging classes until 8th or 9th grade.

    I ran into a math teacher from my daughter’s school today, and she mentioned that at least 1/2 of the 7th grade girls are wearing the same clothes. I think they DO want to show that they can buy and wear the latest trends even if their parents bought it for them.

  132. “bragging about their travels”

    I don’t consider our discussions about travels here to be bragging; I consider it to be sharing. I appreciate that others have shared their experiences here, and that my family has been able to benefit from that sharing.

  133. I agree with Finn. In no way can I discuss these issues IRL, other than with DH. I come to this site for ideas, camaraderie and anonymity so I can vent/brag/ etc. about stuff I have to keep to myself IRL. I was happy to see this post because I thought this group would understand and provide some perspective, advice and commiserate.

    DS1 has both special needs and is truly bright. I struggle finding the right fit for him on both fronts. To me its nuts how many therapists he’s seen since he was two. It’s also nuts to me that I can’t find a school/ teacher that teaches him at his level instead of assuming “oh he’ll be fine” or dealing with him as a class management problem, whether its with respect to his OT, ADHD or intelligence. Its sad to me that HM’s daughter, WCE, and others feel like that have to hide their abilities.

    .

  134. PTM – Thanks for speaking up. We have “Yale”, “Jail” and to coin a phrase “less than Hale” in our family, and I think that applies to a lot of people who post or lurk here. But most are too embarrassed or too circumspect to share all of their stories.

  135. My kids are too young for this topic so I didn’t have much to say. I do think it is similar to people commiserating on how to gain weight because you just can’t find clothes to fit your 5′ 8″ 110 lb body or just not knowing what to do with all of your extra money now that Uncle Jim left you $5M. Situations that certainly can be challenging, but when compared to other potential problems, maybe seeming a little too “my diamond encrusted shoes are too tight, please help!” Plus this is a topic that comes up A LOT here.

  136. My oldest daughter proudly told me one day that she had figured out a number of wrong answers to give in class. She had already read all the stories in their reading textbook, but they were supposed to come up with predictions about what the stories were going to be about. She couldn’t do a prediction because she had already read the stories. She knew she wasn’t supposed to read ahead so her solution was to give wrong answers.

    Dell, is this a better option than “showing off” her intelligence.

  137. I also agree with Finn. Sometimes it may sound braggy or elite when people post here, but that’s probably inevitable.

    “bragging about their travels”

    I was going to post this on FB but then I thought it might sound braggy, but I was wondering if anyone here has washed and dried their passport. Obviously this was accidental, and after a little ironing and trimming of threads it looks alright. But the chip may be damaged, and I don’t think there’s any way of knowing that until you’re having it checked at the airport. I’ll probably go ahead and get a replacement, which means going in person and bringing a bunch of documents.

  138. “DS1 has both special needs and is truly bright.”

    My guess is that the truly bright often have special needs.

  139. Kate, try shopping for prom dresses with your daughter who can only fit into one of them in the entire mall. That is hard too, only there is no sympathy.

    Or better yet, mayhap, you would like your child in a class with my bright, bored, socially gifted child. One day she decided it would be entertaining to get the boys to call the sub by different names. Not much learning took place that day, but a number of students got to visit the principal.

    This topic comes up a lot because there is no place for it in real life.

  140. I agree with Finn about travel stories. HM, I find it interesting that you would equate wearing latest clothes as showing off. What would you consider as hiding intelligence versus showing it off?
    Sadly I had neither intelligence nor money to hide in school

  141. I am not sure if I agree that just the smart, healthy and rich kid stories are shared here. Many posts have been shared about kids and anxiety, kids and lack of friends, kid being bullied on buses, kids being shut out of certain classes, kids with very serious illnesses, kids with learning issues, kids with gender identity issues. I could fill this reply with paragraphs that would just begin to list all of the less than stellar moments that most of us have experienced with our kids from infancy to college.

  142. Cordelia – I get it. I don’t mind these conversations. I justs can understand why it is sometimes a sensitive subject.

  143. Cordelia, I am not making judgement call at all. I agree that your daughter should not have to hide that she is done with all the reading. I was curious as to what you would classify as hiding intelligence,and agree that counts as hiding.
    Also, I think that school kids, mostly come across behavior codes organically. I am just stipulating that they would also treat someone who “shows off” their money or talks about their looks similarly.

  144. I’m sorry this topic turned into accusations of bragging. This is going to squelch the openness that posters have here. I enjoy hearing about these “challenges” that are very real to people even if in general they are an advantage. I am sick and tired of people being told to “check their privilege” Obviously, people have to be sensitive IRL about their privilege, but not here, – that’s why this blog is interesting!

  145. That’s now three words that have been used on this thread that I’ve had to Google for a definition. That may be a record.

  146. “Sometimes it may sound braggy or elite when people post here, but that’s probably inevitable.”

    I hope this is a safe space for being braggy.

    I enjoyed when others have posted good news here that might be considered braggy, like Mooshi’s tenure, Wine passing her exams, and Cordelia’s and BenL’s kids getting into good colleges. I also enjoyed when others posted about their kids making sports teams, although that seems to be socially acceptable to discuss IRL.

  147. “I am sick and tired of people being told to “check their privilege”

    LOL! And that’s a whole ‘nother kettle of fish.

  148. Probably because I am somewhat socially impaired, I don’t get why I should care if someone wears a tiny dress size. Two of my fellow bridesmaids had multiple zeros in their dress size, which severely limited what the bride could choose. My response to the bride’s question about this dilemma was, “Any dress you pick will come in my size. Please choose based on their preferences.”

    The whole idea that someone else being tiny says anything about me is… annoying.

    In other news, someone with Asperger’s may be joining my small group at church, since my group is considered the best one for someone with that issue. (Finn is, once again, not surprised.)

  149. “She knew she wasn’t supposed to read ahead so her solution was to give wrong answers.”

    I would congratulate her for being socially intelligent. This is a win, not a loss.

  150. I don’t recall any discussions of totebaggers with gender identity challenges, Lauren. Perhaps there were.

  151. I have gone back and read the comments, and I see absolutely nothing in them that equates to bragging here by those who shared they have exceptionally bright kids (Brag: to boast or show off.)

    Meme (along with others) has shared her struggles as an exceptionally bright kid, and I think many parents are trying to do the right thing by their kids and support them on the front end, rather than having them have to find their way on their own so much. This is an entirely appropriate conversation, I think, and I read nothing that screams privilege or boastfulness in it.

  152. I didn’t know our passports had chips in them.

    Perhaps WCE can comment, but I don’t think water will damage the chip. Not sure if it’s still the case, but when I worked with chips, it was common for them to get dunked into a vat of molten solder during their packaging processes. I would think being kept in someone’s back pocket during a trip overseas would be much more likely to damage the chip.

    I’ve also had more recent experiences with electronics in outdoor enclosures that were not properly closed and got flooded with water; after drying them out, they worked fine.

  153. I don’t think people should hide their intelligence or any skill they have but everyone has to learn how to function in the world to get along. In my career and life, I have known people who have been very intelligent, above/below average and just plain average. It is a skill to make the people around you feel comfortable and regardless of intelligence not a skill that everyone possesses.

    Cordelia, I would respond (only because you asked) that no your daughter did not do the right thing.I don’t know if the predictions needed to be written out or just discussed in class. If it was the latter, she could’ve just said nothing (and as someone who always wants to answer, I understand how hard this is to do). If it was the former, the right thing would have been to own up to the teacher that she didn’t follow directions and read ahead. The lesson for her to learn is that when you have a teacher or boss that gives you directions, you either follow them or meet with them to explain why you have a better solution/option then they offered. The worst thing to do is to circumvent those directions and then compound the problem by trying to cover your tracks. If the teacher is one who would not be open to your daughter discussing this with her then the lesson is that in life you will run into people who have authority over you and bucking that authority is not always the wise choice.

  154. I have no specific knowledge, but here’s my favorite answer from The Google.

    ePassports use a “Near Field Communication” (NFC) chip to carry the biometric information.

    Many modern smartphones include a NFC reader, which allows them to read the data from the e-Passport – if you can read that data, then your ePassport is working. If you can’t, then it’s likely broken.

    There are a number of apps that can read the data from the passport using NFC, such as NFC TagInfo for Android. The information on the NFC chip is protected using a password composed of your passport number, data of birth, and passport expiry date so you will need to manually enter these before it is able to display the data from the NFC.

    No countries are currently enforcing the use of ePassports for entry, so you will not have any issues getting through immigration with a “failed” e-passport.

    In some countries, such as Australia (SmartGate) and the US (Global Entry), an ePassport is required to use the automated expedited entry lanes. Without a working ePassport you will not be able to use these lanes, however at least in Australia you will be able to jump to the front of the normal lines if/when using the SmartGate fails.

  155. usually lurks

    At the time, she was eight years old. In her little mind, she was supposed to not draw attention to herself and occupy herself quietly. She did, but then had to find and alternative. Since the teacher praised kids who had predictions, she thought she had to come up with some.

  156. mayhap, abstruse, and circumspect.

    Circumspect, I was familiar with, but unsure of its application there. The other two, although understandable within the context, were completely foreign to me.

    “”I hope this is a safe space for being braggy.”

    The question is “safe from what?” WCE once hypothesized, and I’m grossly paraphrasing, that bragging can be defined by revealing something that is perhaps two or three standard deviations more favorable than the mean.

    There are certainly other factors that go into this. The cafeteria ladies who won a $500M Powerball jackpot can brag about their new mansions and probably be OK. At least for a little while. And athletic feats do tend to be safer territory compared to intellectual superiority.

    But I’d say that the only difference ‘here’ is that the mean is shifted a little, although maybe not as much we all like to believe. That’s not to say it’s *unsafe* to brag a little, but what are you seeking in return? That your comments will never spark the slightest bit of resentment? Or is it that you just want to be able to make the comments without having anyone verbally roll his eyes at you, like PTM did?

    I’m certainly not immune. I’ve been justifiably criticized for being Pollyanna’ish, and there are plenty of times I feel like this board wallows in melancholy. If I’ve purposely toned that down, is that also a shame, or is that just getting along a little better?

    Who told anyone’s kids to tone down the smarts? Or did they just decide on their own to do it in order to better fit in? Also, if we’re going to say that the only appropriate education for them is one in which they’re not an outlier, where they feel like they totally belong, how is it reasonable to expect the other, more average kids with whom they’re stuck to *NOT* subtly encourage them to fit in better? That seems like asking to have it both ways — on one hand, they need to be with their own kind; on the other hand, those who are not their kind should not make them feel different.

  157. Cordelia, alternatively, your daughter could use her intelligence and creativity to make the teacher look foolish on a daily basis, create chaos in the class, wear a recording device daily so when the teacher finally loses his cool and swears at her, she has recording for the school board and can get the teacher fired.

    It all depends on how accepting of authority she is.

  158. I don’t consider Totebag posters to be braggy at all. I admire the way some posters write. They could start their own serious blog for discussion of issues ! Forget The Atlantic or NYTimes !
    As for hiding ones intelligence, culturally I am not familiar with this concept at all. With my kids I find they know who did well at school without it ever being publicly stated through awards, class rank etc.

  159. Agree 100% with Milo. Cordelia, to answer your question more properly, while I agree that your daughter should not have to give wrong answers, if she talked to her classmates how she has completed all the reading, they can certainly see it as bragging- at least as much bragging as wearing latest fashion that most can’t afford.

  160. As for me, I love to brag and don’t let anyone stop me! I just have to say I am a lawyer, and some people consider it bragging. Also, my kid is one of the most fascinating 4 year olds around with a wicked sense of humor. So there!

  161. @ Dell – that is the 3rd or 4th time you equated wearing the latest fashion with bragging. I am missing something here. Can you tell me why that is bragging? Genuine question, no snark intended. I know a number of women who are incredibly fashion forward, and I’ve never seen it as boasting.

    @ Milo, I do see what you’re saying, and could maybe see agree if a poster or posters were constantly saying how hard it is to raise their brilliant offspring (in a humble brag sort of way) and finding a way to work it into every damn topic, but as I read yesterday’s conversation, people were just responding to a specific post. Doesn’t it seem in that case totebaggers should be free to say, yes, here are the challenges we’ve faced and how we’ve handled them?

  162. Cordelia, alternatively, your daughter could use her intelligence and creativity to make the teacher look foolish on a daily basis, create chaos in the class, wear a recording device daily so when the teacher finally loses his cool and swears at her, she has recording for the school board and can get the teacher fired.

    Speaking from experience, WCE?

    So far, we have redirected DD2 from that path.

  163. Lark, that is my point. I don’t consider it bragging. Also, it is the reason I asked HM if she felt like wearing latest fashion was showing off! Apparently she does! I find it interesting and hence my point that everyone looks at behavior from their own lens.

  164. Cordelia, that’s probably best. :) Probably a little better to develop one’s “positive” EQ than one’s “negative” EQ.

  165. “Doesn’t it seem in that case totebaggers should be free to say, yes, here are the challenges we’ve faced and how we’ve handled them?”

    Of course. But isn’t PTM’s eye roll OK, too?

    If we have a discussion about avoiding capital gains taxes, are we going to get upset because someone makes a comment like PTM and Rocky did? It’s just part of the conversation.

    I’m thinking where Dell writes fashion, she means name brand expensive.

    If SoFL’s son were attending a regular high school, and he came home and said “I don’t want to drive the Benz, I want a Civic so I don’t stand out so much,” I think everyone would applaud that.

  166. I asked HM if she felt like wearing latest fashion was showing off! Apparently she does!

    I’m not sure what I said that gave you that impression, but no, I do not view wearing the latest fashion as showing off.

  167. I am still missing it. You say, “apparently she does,” but I don’t see anything at all in HM’s comments that suggest she does???

    You said – Um, more like wearing the latest clothing/accessories, bragging about their travels, etc. and I don’t see that she agreed with you. Not trying to beat a dead horse or be nitpicky, but I am confused about the connection.

  168. I also don’t view wearing a bikini as showing off. My intent was to use that as an example of not hiding one’s good looks.

    Things I do not consider showing off: wearing expensive and/or fashionable clothing, wearing a bikini, freely admitting to living in a nice neighborhood or traveling often.

    Of course all of those can turn into showing off if you keep gratuitously bringing them up.

  169. I’d intended to bow out for the day but was reading the comments and felt like I had to defend my honor as not being someone who glares and tut-tuts over people wearing bikinis, on-trend clothing, etc.

  170. Lark, I don’t know what more to say! You will just have to take my word for it!

    Hm, your reply to my statement that wearing latest fashion/accessories (yes, high fashion) was that I seem to equate hiding intelligence is equal to showing off. I am going off of that.
    From what you are saying, your daughter seems to be doing great. How is she hiding her intelligence?
    Being Hermione of the class with her hand up for every question will always earn eye rolls from Ron.

  171. I was someone who hid my intelligence growing up. I was shy, not overly confident, and even though I never volunteered how I did on a test or anything, competitive classmates always came around and demanded to know how I did. In middle school, our math teacher sat us in grade order, with the seating chart updated every Monday. I began intentionally missing questions to not be in first chair. In high school, I chose “office aid” and some other elective my senior year instead of calculus and physics. My math teacher, a Christian brother and former boxer, was having none of it and after an hour of resisting forced me to comply. Around my friends I never talked about school, intentionally did not try, and drank way too much through the latter part of high school and all through undergrad, rarely attending class in college. I occasionally wonder now what other paths I could have pursued had I not been so focused on fitting in above following my interests. For those whose kids it is an issue (not mine), I do think it is something they should worry about. Two of the guys in my grade who were similar developed pretty bad drug problems, with one eventually committing suicide.

  172. Again, I am not making a social comment here, just getting your thoughts.
    To me it seems like what one person considers bragging is not bragging to another person, and in fact is hiding. Corollary to that would be not hiding for one person would be throwing in your face to another person. *shrug*

  173. Dell, I feel like I’ve already gone into too much detail about my daughter on this, and we seem to be talking past each other, so I’d prefer to just leave it there.

  174. This discussion has been a real eye opener. I was always taught to use your innate skills (gifts) to the fullest in a positive way, whatever they may be. Another part of using ones gifts was to work at getting better, not take it for granted.

  175. MBT, that is just so hard for me to understand. It’s mind boggling. My school was highly competitive and kids were grouped according to their grades! I can tell you that no that no one tried to hide their intelligence and you ended up being friends with your grade cohort.

  176. I have never spent a month on a sub, or a weekend in my Long Island crash pad. I have rarely been to San Fransisco, and that after the highlight of Haight-Ashbury, an era I might have enjoyed. I have not sipped wines in Barolo and shipped home crates of my favorite. I don’t have my own little clan of kids or a supportive spouse who encouages me to go far professionally, and makes it possible. I don’t know and certainly didn’t experience wild times on Wall Street. Except for crossing the yard once, I haven’t been to Harvard. Not to Brown, Princeton, or Stanford either. Does that mean I am jealous of those who have, that I can’t stand to hear others tales of any of the above, or that I deny that there could be difficulties with any of the above? Of course not! There is, however, a regular here who knows full well that his handle is a slam on me personally, sees no reason to change it, yet insists the rest of us should all keep mum about striving to do well by our kids? Ha!

  177. MBT – I may have this confused, but wasn’t it your own mother who was more eager for you to be academically average and therefore more socially popular?

  178. Milo – yes, that is where it originated, but I internalized it pretty quickly. Every response from peers confirmed her admonitions that “people won’t like you if they think you’re too smart”.

  179. Saac – his handle is not a slam on you personally. It’s an ironic absurdity that pokes fun at the very straight-laced bourgeois nature of this group.

  180. And in my mom’s defense – I will say that she was doing what she knew to do, coming from a family where the boys were sent to college, but not the girls. She was trying to smooth the way for me socially in the best way she knew how. They did try to find a “gifted” program for me, but at the time, there was not one in the public school system, so the only option was one at the local university, which would have meant more than an hour bus-ride each way every day (my parents only had one car), so they figured I’d make do.

  181. “his handle is a slam on me personally”

    No, it’s not. And he didn’t insist that we keep mum. Untrue and unfair.

  182. Saac – I was going to say the same thing as Milo. I agree that it is a good-natured mocking of our sensibilities, not pointed at you. I also didn’t interpret PTM’s post as insisting we stay mum on striving. He didn’t care for the tone, so didn’t participate, and felt comfortable sharing that he didn’t care for it. He’s not calling for anyone to change to suit him.

  183. I almost forgot one of my favorite lines about dealing with being smart, from Sheldon’s mom on The Big Bang Theory: ” it’s okay to be smarter than everybody else, but you can’t go around pointing it out. “

  184. “SoFL’s son”

    I really wonder where he’s going to college. If you’re reading, SoFL, it’s OK to brag about it here.

  185. “not being someone who glares and tut-tuts over people wearing bikinis”

    Given where she lives, she would spend all her time glaring and tut-tutting.

  186. “I began intentionally missing questions to not be in first chair.”

    This reminds me that when my kids were in the first-year orchestra at school, they didn’t seat the kids, and the kids sat where they wanted within their sections. When DS was in that orchestra, one of his friends often ran to orchestra so he could sit in the first chair.

    When DD was in that orchestra, we dropped her off early for one of their concerts, so she got the first chair. After the concert, a lot of parents congratulated us on DD being the first chair.

  187. I’ve been thinking about this discussion all day. The other three NMSF I knew at my high school suffered with at minimum depression and at maximum a multi-week visit to a psychiatric hospital. It’s hard to say whether the high school environment was uniquely tough or whether some people are uniquely vulnerable. The other NMSF in my high school class (the one murdered a couple years ago) became a psychiatrist in part because of those struggles.

    I respect PTM’s point of view, but I firmly believe that some highly intelligent people are uniquely vulnerable to psychiatric issues. High intelligence has pros and cons, like any other human uniqueness. It’s not all privilege. Some of those people are fundamentally different enough that they will never just “fit in.”

  188. “It’s hard to say whether the high school environment was uniquely tough or whether some people are uniquely vulnerable.”

    I think the school environment is typically tough on those who are very unique in any of a myriad ways who don’t also have the social skills to fit in, or the strength deal with not fitting in, the cluelessness to not notice not fitting in, or the luck to have that uniqueness be in a way that is socially celebrated.

  189. “some highly intelligent people are uniquely vulnerable to psychiatric issues”

    And left to figure it out for themselves more often than those whose vulnerabilities are due to other circumstances.

  190. MBT, do you think you would’ve been happier had you attended an academically competitive prep school and/or a HSS where students are celebrated for academic accomplishment?

  191. Good Lord, Saac. I am sorry I said that your son should stop bouncing his basketball off your neighbor’s ceiling after 9 p.m.

    Now. Can we call this feud off?

    Rhett or Milo, any suggestions as to what my new handle should be? (Rhett, I promised you I would never change it.) I am glad that most folks realized that my current one was not a slam at anybody.

  192. It’s all folks except one. PLEASE do not change your handle because 1 poster thinks everything is about her.

  193. Finn – who knows? There were plenty of things I liked about my high school, and my math teacher was awesome and did not allow the laziness I had gotten away with prior to that. He tailored lessons and quizzes to me, and never let me earn above a B, which annoyed me, but he was great for me. I corresponded with him until his death a few years ago. I had good friends that I still keep in touch with today, but that always involved me adapting to them. I would have enjoyed having some friends that I could talk about things that interested me, such as politics and kind of how the world works, even through college. That is my fault – I am sure those people existed. But being somewhat of an introvert, and being the little sister of my brother who was a grade ahead of me and very outgoing, being on the dance team – I sort of fell into the social group that went along with that and that didn’t require the effort that would have been involved to find my tribe. By that time, my habits were ingrained.So a different school would have fixed some of that and probably broken other parts that worked for me. I think middle school would have been a great time to have been with people with common interests, and that would have set me on a different, possibly less alcohol-infused, path for high school. That was the time when I really began to consciously suppress things that made people call me egghead. That is one of the reasons I like this site so much – all of the topics here are things that most of my IRL people are only willing to indulge me for a short time. And you guys give great book recommendations.

  194. Thinking about the people I could have tried to get to know better that may have been a good fit makes me think of my mom’s descriptions – she met my now-husband, and said he seems like a “man’s man”. She met my sister’s now-husband and described him as “bookish”. It was not something that I think even registered with her, but it shaped my social habits.

  195. Socially, I think girls seem to pick up messages in line with what MBT described. That’s how it becomes acceptable to say that they aren’t good at Math (even if they are). If they are having a tough time it automatically becomes, “I am not smart enough to tackle this”. (I was surprised in conversations with a few mothers at how they described themselves as being poor at Math right off the bat). No one said they were poor at any other subject.
    Boys, don’t pick up those same messages and even if they dip in their scores, they attribute it to circumstances other than “I am not smart”, more like – test was too hard, teacher is mean, had a bad day….

  196. Thank you very much for your comments on the possibly damaged passport! I’m still researching if I can find a way to read the chip with my iPhone. So far the only app I found looked too shady to install.

  197. “If we have a discussion about avoiding capital gains taxes, are we going to get upset because someone makes a comment like PTM and Rocky did? It’s just part of the conversation.”

    I agree. We try to be civil in our conversations, but I hope this is not declared to be a 100% safe space. Eye rolls are permitted. I do my share. ;)

  198. I didn’t respond on this thread initially because it’s about super smart kids and I don’t believe mine qualify (nor did I, as a child). But if I thought my kids were super smart, or if I’d been one, and I responded to a thread that specifically asked about that, and then I was later called out for bragging, I would feel whipsawed.

    I don’t recall people being called out for bragging about other things–money, jobs, cars, second homes, etc–but maybe I missed those comments. Or maybe it hasn’t happened. Perhaps the issue is that the “my kids are super smart and so am I” comments come up so often on this board that some people have reached a boiling point about them?

    I personally don’t care how often this–or any other–topic comes up, whether as an OP or in off-topic comments. I don’t comment if the topic doesn’t concern me. And when I see comments that bother me (snarky comments about divorce come to mind) or when there are instances of over-the-top bragging, I move on. I’m sure I’m guilty of writing comments that have elicited the same response in others.

    But based on some earlier comments on this thread, maybe this particular subject–super smart kids and the super smart parents who raise them–is one that suffers from overkill more than most? Maybe it’s a bigger harm to the dynamics of this group than anyone realized? Maybe we need to do a better job of limiting comments about this topic to OPs that precisely relate to it?

    I know PTM’s not asking for that, but the eye rolling (and it’s not only from him) comes from someplace, and maybe some sort of limit on the topic would resolve that?

    I understand we all want a place where we can talk about whatever we are up against, but there are limits to what we can reasonably expect others to tolerate. We’re not a group of total strangers here; we know each other to some extent, and we know what each other’s backgrounds are. It probably wouldn’t kill us to be a little more mindful.

  199. Kerri- that was interesting. Thanks for sharing it. I find that selection process to be brilliant. I wonder if there were parents that objected to the testing. Each of my kids has some of those traits, and the testing we had done for something else indicates their brains have patterns typically seen in alcoholics. There is a branch in the family tree with some serious alcohol problems, so it is definitely a concern of mine.

  200. Kerri, also thanks for sharing. One of my friends has adult children who run the gamut from physician to homeless alcoholic. She and I discuss this topic moderately frequently (although we know each other in person, so we don’t have to subject other people to it :)

  201. Totally off-topic, but watched the first episode of Last Chance U on Netflix last night. Now I am hooked on another show about football. East Mississippi Community College is probably the ultimate non-Totebaggy school in an extremely non-Totebaggy part of the country, but it was riveting.

  202. Scarlett- I just made a note of that in my phone. I’m almost ready to give up on “How to Get Away with Murder,” about halfway through Season 2, but DW might not be yet. I think, to her, doing so is an admission of defeat.

  203. Totally off-topic, but watched the first episode of Last Chance U on Netflix last night. Now I am hooked on another show about football. East Mississippi Community College is probably the ultimate non-Totebaggy school in an extremely non-Totebaggy part of the country, but it was riveting.

    The best show about football is Friday Night Tykes. If you ever are feeling like a bad parent, it will make you feel so much better.

  204. Milo, DH gave up on Friday Night Lights so I have to watch it when he is away. It is hard to find shows we both like, though he got me to watch Silicon Valley and I got him to watch Homeland and The Americans.
    A first world problem, to be sure. But the abundance of content is part of the reason IMO for the perception that we don’t have enough free time. We have the same time as 30 years ago but a lot more options to fill it.

  205. Many people seem to have misunderstood my post; so I’ll try again. There are many things that many people post about here that one could get jealous over. Today is the first time I recall seeing someone express jealousy. When people talk about their families, careers, home, money, experiences in a positive way, this board is generally either quiet, happy for them, or helpful in figuring out the wrinkles. One of the very first topics was helping someone figure out how to equip a kitchen in a weekend/vacation cabin. No one pouted about not having a cabin of their own. Yet someone who is concerned about his own son now wants to guilt trip the rest of us for the way our kids were born, and for trying to find the best way for them to proceed. Such complete hypocracy makes me angry.

    It is also ironic to find someone saying that it is pompous not to hide our kids under bushel baskets in a post where people are talking about girls trying not to look intelligent, for fear of social consequences.

    There is no way to tell if that handle pokes fun at any particular group, because it represents an overwhelmingly dominant majority opinion in the US, one that many on this board apparently share.

  206. The problem with public education is that it is a finite resource and thus pits us against each other for those resources for our children. It is difficult for anyone of us to see the bigger picture and say yes I will forgo resources for MY child so that YOUR child can have more and MY child can be limited in some way.

    I don’t know what the answer is but concede that those with more resources are able to support their children the best they can above public resources and those who don’t watch their children really be marginalized.

    I imagine that in some number of years with the advance of technology public education will be able to customized to the child but then those parents/kids will complain that their child was pigeonholed to X because of aptitude testing. Thus the brilliant scientist will not be happy because s/he wanted to do Y and the child who could’ve moved into a higher educational area with grit and hard work will be overlooked and be resentful.

  207. ” those with more resources are able to support their children the best they can above public resources and those who don’t watch their children really be marginalized.”

    For many of us, this is why we make sure we are “those with more resources”, so that we can provide for our kids and not have them be completely at the mercy of public school systems that may not be able to provide for them.

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