Brainy Fridays? How Does that Sound?

Ok, she’ll be honest, ya’ll called The Equuschick’s bluff. Now she is having a moment where she is all like, “A series? But I’m afraid of commitment!”

Alas, no matter. If she is to teach the Dread Pirate Grasshopper self-discipline, she must press on herself. And she isn’t completely unprepared. She has notes, an outline of sorts, and some theories. (No lack of theories here, nope.)

For the record however, let Here the Following Facts Be Publicly Stated:

The Equuschick is 28 years old, her oldest is 3 and 1/2 and her youngest is 5 mos. If you really want to know how to intelligently, firmly and compassionately raise a precocious child, please find someone who has already done it and ask THEM. They will have a clue.

But because brains are so fascinating, and because you readers seem fascinated as well, The Equuschick shall exercise a great deal of her native hubris and go boldly where few go and come back unscathed, i.e, the minds of small children. This adventure shall be called Brainy Fridays.

What are Brainy Fridays going to look like? Where are we going to go and what we will do?

As noted last week, while it is true that all children have gifts, there are undoubtedly a handful of children that come into this world with brains spitting out more sparks, sooner, than others. These children do come with specific challenges.

The counterparts of these children are children who come into the world with sparks that fire perhaps less often, perhaps the sparking is delayed, and these children, more accustomed to having their feet on the ground and having to work to use them, have their own challenges, separate from the challenges of the crazy sparking brains.

We’ll get into the nurture part of nature later, but for now, let’s all just accept that there are different kinds of folk in the world, and the two above paragraphs describe two different kinds of children.

What to call these children? They are generally called the gifted and the non-gifted, but this a dichotomy and a vocabulary that The Equuschick has many qualms about.

For one thing, , “gifted” seems to be a moving target for a society. If you consider what qualifies a child as “gifted” today and consider what people in other societies and other times expected of their offspring intellectually, the gifted children of today would have been the average children a century or so ago.

For another, though there have certainly been all throughout time and are still today children who truly have genius brain cells, the minute you use the term Gifted with a capital G you’ve created a label. Once you’ve made a label, you start looking for a box to put it on. And the thing about boxes is that they don’t just keep things in, they also keep things out.

There are children who probably deserve the capital G in gifted whose gifts simply show up later in life because they are what are known as late-bloomers, and there are children who may test Gifted with a capital G very early in life but burn out before maturity.

If we use the boxes, we miss the first and are far too invested in the latter. (Nurture shock, a book the HG has already shared and one that The Equuschick will be referencing frequently, has a fabulous chapter on how this very scenario plays out in government schools across the country.)

Frankly, brains change. The term “Gifted” implies a status quo, when the brain is anything but static.

For a while there The Equuschick was afraid she was going to have to stick with CWNTLSWMBAISAs, but then she hit on the term Busy Brains.

The Busy Brains and the Calm Brains. This does not cover all the ground and we’ll try to bridge some gaps later, but it will do for now.

Even in those distinctions The Equuschick struggles to caution herself, because one of the issues with the Busy brains is that they can demand so much more energy and stimulation than the Calm brains, to the extent that the parent becomes distracted and consumed with the Busy brain, to the detriment of the Calm brain. This becomes a self-feeding cycle, as the Busy brain’s brain gets more stimulation than the Calm brain, thus responding to opportunities the Calm brain didn’t get. Who is to say which came first, the chicken or the egg?

In light of these terms, warnings, cautions, and etc, The Equuschick would like this series to cover the following three levels:

1. How to Build a Landing Pad for Busy Brains
2. How to Build a Launch Pad for Calm Brains
3. How to Bridge the Gap Between the Two, in a way that encourages motivation and response and stimulation for all brain types/learning styles.

To wrap up this rather broad introduction, here follows a list of books The Equuschick will be referencing and that she highly recommends. She hopes to have one Brainy Friday post be exclusively a book review, we shall see.

Dreamers, Discoverers & Dynamos: How to Help the Child Who Is Bright, Bored and Having Problems in School

NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children

Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder

The Magic Trees of the Mind: HT Nuture your Child’s Intelligence Creativity Healthy Emotions from Birth thru

And of course, anything by Cynthia Tobias or Jane Healy, Ph.D.

Thanks for reading. Tune in next time to read “Myths on the Strong-Willed Busybrain.”


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