The gifted mind, as you may know, is akin to a voracious monster who eats knowledge. Occasionally said monster becomes full for a while, and needs a nap to digest. You may have experienced periods where you or your child suddenly lose all interest in learning new things, and you end up binge-watching TV shows or reading trashy novels for a week. When the monster awakens, it generally resumes its seemingly-endless devouring of information. This is seen on the outside when that bright mind wakes up one morning and says, “I want to learn today!” and go right back to their usual selves.
Sometimes the monster encounters one type of information, discovers it likes it, and proceeds to find every bit available. These are what we call obsessions. Other times, something will make the monster angry, and it will demand that something be done about this horrible thing. If it is discouraged, it becomes sad, and will fall into a fitful sleep until it is reenergized and hungry once again. This is the cycle of existential depression. When encouraged, the monster will push and push until it has exhausted all its options, manifesting in various forms of activism.
School can be a pass for an all-you-can-eat buffet if it can meet the monster’s needs. However, when schools fail to do so, the monster is left hungry and becomes agitated as a result. This appears as boredom, frustration, or anger. The same occurs during school breaks. Deprived of substance for long enough, the monster will drift into a hibernation-like state, and it can be very difficult to reawaken it – hence why gifted children can be rendered so miserable.
Like many creatures, the monster also needs interaction. In-depth conversations are a must-have. A single mind can only process an idea so much on its own, so at some point it needs a companion.
How does one manage such a monster? Like with any creature, you do your best to provide it with what it needs. Sometimes it is hard to find ways to satisfy it, but feed it you must, or the consequences can be very unpleasant. Similarly, sometimes the monster needs something but does not know what it is or how to find it. That is why I started college at 13, and why to this day I dislike long breaks from school: my monstrous mind is desperate for input, and I often have trouble feeding it consistently and sufficiently without outside assistance. I believe the term for that ability is “executive function,” which is a thing I don’t have.
What have your experiences with monstrous minds been?