THE LONELINESS OF BEING A GENIUS



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THE LONELINESS OF BEING A GENIUS



 

Many people think that it must be great to be a child prodigy. You’re smarter than everyone – even your teachers. All your friends are jealous because you don’t have to work in school. Your parents are really proud of you and they never complain about your schoolwork.

Unfortunately, for most prodigies, the statements above are incorrect. Many children prodigies have lonely, friendless childhoods. Why? Because their intellectual, social, emotional, physical, and chronological ages are very different. Even a very young prodigy may have the intelligent of an adult but he or she still has the social and emotional level of a young child.

Research on the development of children’s friendships shows that friends think of themselves as similar to each other. This means two children who are friends like the same activities and they act and speak in similar ways. Many highly gifted children can find no one who is like them, so they end up lonely and isolated.

For example, Ian is six. His IQ is over 200, and he is passionate about dinosaurs. Many children of all ages also like dinosaurs. However, Ian rarely finds someone to talk to about his passion. Other six-year-olds know too little. Even older children don’t know enough. And they don’t find his knowledge interesting. In fact, they often don’t like him because he keeps correcting them. Ian can only talk about dinosaurs to knowledgeable adults. The adults are kind, but he is not their social or emotional equal. He’s still a child. Therefore, Ian never feels he has a true friend because no one really shares his interests at the same level.

 

2. READING COMPREHENSION

A. Check your predictions

Prediction Not Accurate Accurate
   
   
   

B. Check the Facts

Check (P) the questions you can answer after reading once. Then go back and look for the answers that you are unsure of.

READING 1

___ 1. What was John Duns Scotus’s profession?

___ 2. How did people feel about him when he was alive?

___ 3. How did people feel about his followers after he died?

___ 4. Why did John Duns wear a dunce cap?

___ 5. Name two famous men that were dunces in school.

___ 6. Why is Theodore Kaczynski famous?

READING 2

___ 1. What percentage of the population is average?

___ 2. What percentage is above average?

READING 3

___ 1. Why does the author feel sorry for child prodigies?

___ 2. Why do child prodigies have problems making friends?

___ 3. What happens when child prodigies play with children their own age?

___ 4. What happens when child prodigies play with older children?

___ 5. What is Ian interested in?

___ 6. Can he talk about his interest with other children? Why or why not?

___ 7. Who can he talk to?

___ 8. Why does Ian feel that he doesn’t have any friends?

3. VOCABULARY WORK

A. Guess Meaning from Related Words

Underline the parts of the word that you know. Then guess the meaning of the whole word.

lawmaker _____________________________
friendless _____________________________
knowledgeable _____________________________
gifted ________________________________

How are the following words related?

a. lonely loneliness _______________________________
b. passion passionate _______________________________
c. problem problematic _______________________________
d. cone conical _______________________________
e. idiot idiotic _______________________________
f. stupid stupidity _______________________________

B. Guess Meaning from the Context

Match the meaning with the words

Word Reading Meaning
absolute according to time
eponymous radical, extreme
child prodigy a word that comes from a person’s name
chronological an unusual talented or intelligent boy or girl
genius 1/2/3 had to leave school because of bad grades
fanatical total
flunked out of wanting something, someone else has, envious
jealous an extremely smart person

C. Reading Skills

Finding Main Ideas

1. Which statement is the main idea in Reading 1?

a. John Duns was a stupid man.

b. Many famous people are stupid.

c. Success in school doesn’t necessarily mean success in life.

2. Where is the main idea started?

3. What is the main idea of Reading 3?

a. Being a child prodigy can cause social problems.

b. Child prodigies are more intelligent than other children.

c. Many people don’t like child prodigies.

5. DISCUSSION

1. Do you know anyone who is very intelligent? Do they have the kinds of problems described in Reading 3?

2. Do you know anyone who doesn’t do well in school but is very successful outside of school?

 

 

Lesson 50.

 

 

 

DISCUSSION

Do you give money to beggars? Explain why, or why not.

 

2. READING



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