I had the pleasure of attending a six-hour finance seminar today for Non-Profit #1. Pleasure, of course, being relative. In my case, not so much. In my case, it was brain-numbing boredom compounded by the fact that I was bored and the topic made boring look all sexy. But I was there, and as I sat there in the windowless rooms with no bars on the iPhone (AT&T, you and I are going to have words if this crap continues), I had several thoughts fighting for attention:
A. Schools are woefully underfunded and anyone who thinks that teachers get paid too much for nine months of work should be forced to sit through a six-hour finance seminar as penance. And then I’ll follow it up with a couple dozen smacks upside the head. And a rubber hose up the nose.
3. Looking back, and knowing now what I know about giftedness, I was damned bored in school and just didn’t know it.
Furthermore. Our gifted kids feel like this on a daily basis.
I was able to leave after six hours. I didn’t have to go back the next day. I didn’t have to go back the day after that, or that, or that. I didn’t have to go home with additional work the instructors gave me to continue that level of boredom at home.
But for six hours today, my brain starved.
It was not a topic that interested me. It was a seminar I had to attend. While I knew it had value, I had a hard time relating it to any part of my life right now.
Now, before you think that I drooled throughout the entire seminar, and got into trouble for passing notes, no. I paid attention and took notes and made eye contact with the presenters; couldn’t help it with the IT presenter. Pure eye-candy. Ahem. I was able to hold it together and I did get something out of the presentations that I can and will use for the non-profit in the future.
But to be honest, when I walked out that door into the beautiful Colorado afternoon, I just wanted to go home and have a stiff drink. Gifted kids don’t have that option, and the ones that find a way to take that option often do it to kill the feeling of being brain starved.
My brain was very most definitely full. Full of boredom, full of frustration, full of dust. I thought back to the Beyond Giftedness conference I attended last winter, and how different I felt after that was over. My brain was full of excitement, full of energy, full of plans. A much different kind of full. A “sated after a memorable meal” kind of full, instead of “stuffed full of whatever I was offered but I’m still not satisfied” kind of full. Big difference.
While I believe that all kids, even and especially gifted ones, need to learn to deal with boredom, does it need to be all a gifted kid gets out of school? How to stay quiet and fake it? How to make good grades and not make waves? How to take what is offered and not ask for what is desired?
Brain starved isn’t just a brain that isn’t being fed, it’s also one that is being fed incomplete or unnecessary nutrients. Look at the obesity epidemic: people are being fed, but they’re certainly not healthy. Do we want our children’s brains to be the same way? Slow, sluggish, starved?
Our future depends on today’s students getting a strong diet of brain food. And just like some people need different diets to thrive (for example, I absolutely cannot have gluten for a variety of reasons relating to my health and sanity), our kids need different brain diets. How is that so difficult to understand and implement? Not every kid responds to the same schooling the same way.
So what’s the answer? Well, if I knew, I’d certainly be shouting it from the rooftops. For now, in the House of Chaos, it’s supplemental learning to keep young brains healthy.
And limiting six hour finance seminars as much as possible.