The Curse of Giftedness

The Globe and Mail is running a great article by Elizabeth Renzetti about the difficulties faced by gifted children:

The trajectory for gifted children is not simply onward and upward; they are as likely to be plagued by crises of confidence as anyone. Perhaps more so: Their intellectual gifts mean they are even more aware of the flaws in their clay, of how short they fall from self-imposed goals.

“People are forever telling me the achievements of my life,” Dr. Sassoon says, “and yet I feel I’ve accomplished nothing – nothing compared to what I might achieve.” He has put his finger on a thorny issue: Is a gifted child destined to become an exceptional adult?

No is the short answer, if you listen to the British psychologist Joan Freeman, one of the world’s leading experts on gifted children. For 36 years, Dr. Freeman has studied a group of 210 British children – some gifted, most not. In her new book, Gifted Lives, she concluded that, of the 20 identified as gifted, only six went on to adult lives that matched the potential of their early promise (one is a successful opera singer; another runs a hedge fund.)

The Curse of Giftedness [Globe and Mail]


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