Do YOU Believe In Genius?
By Linda Dobson
Many parents of the approximately forty-seven million school-aged children in America today have long assumed that everything educationally necessary was occurring in the classroom. Many also dream their children will grow as “geniuses,” ultimately contributing to society something wonderful and useful. At the same time, we know that putting a child on the educational fast track – with too much pressure and exaggerated expectations – can make an otherwise enjoyable educational experience a nightmare for the would-be geniuses.
The route to genius, however, according to a 1960 study called “The Childhood Pattern of Genius” by Harold McCurdy, then a University of North Carolina professor of psychology, and published by the Smithsonian Institute, may just be a much kinder, gentler track than many imagine.
The Route to Genius
After intensive study of the biographies of twenty geniuses, McCurdy noticed three aspects common to their lives during the typical development pattern as children.
• “A high degree of attention focused on the child by parents and other adults, expressed in intensive educational measures and usually, abundant love.”
• “Isolation from other children, especially outside the family.”
• “A rich efflorscence of fantasy [i.e., creativity] as a reaction to the preceding conditions.”
Public School Approach to Learning Reduces Genius
But wait. There’s more. McCurdy concluded, “It might be remarked that the mass education of our public school system is, in its way, a vast experiment on the effect of reducing all three factors to a minimum; accordingly, it should tend to suppress the occurrence of genius.”
This conclusion should scare the hell out of every American citizen. But for parents, it should serve as a clarion call as to the utter importance of providing, not more school, but something very different. Let it shed light on the reality that not only can every parent become a child’s learning coach, it’s imperative that every parent does.
Do You Believe In Genius first appeared in Linda Dobson’s The Learning Coach Approach: Inspire, Encourage, and Guide Your Child Toward Greater Success in School and in Life