Earlier this week, I treated myself to an evening meeting of a parent group from our school district. We had invited Jean Sunde Peterson to speak. I’d heard her another time maybe five years ago, and really found her interesting and enjoyable.
She is a family counselor who has done a lot of research into various aspects of gifted kids and high ability education. She talked about the frequency with which people with high abilities have “overexcitabilities” (a term coined by Kazimierz Dabrowski). They are overly sensitive to tags in clothes, overly affected by the plight of some animals, overly observant of stimuli around them, overly empathetic in general.
One stuck with me in particular. Peterson had done a long-time study of gifted kids, from third grade through the next 10 years. She came up with categories to fit the kids into: submissive kids, overachievers, perfectionists, underachievers, etc. Guess which group had the best long-term outcome?
Feisty girls. Sometimes, she said, it would take them awhile to come into their own, but they always seemed to, and then there was no stopping them.
I liked that … not that I’d know any feisty girls, understand. Or be related to any, either :).