The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

20 December 2003

Too much too soon

Joanne Jacobs turned up this report by the Davidson Institute for Talent Development, which gives its collective thumbs up to the acceleration of gifted students.

This quote jumped out at me:

Research has found no evidence to support the notion that social or emotional problems arise through well-planned and monitored acceleration programs. (Southern & Jones, 1991)

Perhaps I should believe that my own acceleration was neither well-planned nor monitored, inasmuch as my 8.5-year trek through the twelve canonical grades was fraught with emotional issues and social retardation of the sort I wouldn't wish on anyone.

Of course, it might be just me. I always figured that my nearly-off-the-scale test scores were bogus anyway: if I'm so damned smart, why do I feel so incredibly stupid so often? There are some things you can't pick up from books, and I apparently didn't find an alternate source.

Joanne's comments on her entry include reports from a fair number of success stories, and I'm happy for them, but if I knew then what I know now, I would have insisted on taking all twelve years. Maybe thirteen.

Posted at 1:10 PM to General Disinterest

I wouldn't be so sure, Charles. I did take all twelve years. I'm pretty sure most of what I got out of it was three-and-a-half more years of those emotional/social thingies you had, than you had.

Posted by: McGehee at 2:42 PM on 20 December 2003

I knew you were smarter than the average bear, Charles...and this only confirms that your "smartness" has been evident from The Beginning.

And trust me - as much as you THINK you would have wanted to spend even more time in school, you truly wouldn't have enjoyed it - or gotten as much "social" thingies out of it as you suspect.

Posted by: David at 6:28 PM on 20 December 2003

"...if I'm so damned smart, why do I feel so incredibly stupid so often?"

Because you were smart enough to know there were many things you didn't know. The kids that end up in trouble are the ones that think they know everything but really don't know Jack.

As for social skills, it doesn't matter if you do your schooling in 8, 12, or even 15 years. Some people are just more perceptive to other people and the subconsious signals they give. Intelligence isn't the issue. If you haven't developed a decent set of social skills by the time you're 13 or 14 years old your high school years are going to suck immensely.

Posted by: Ralph Gizzip at 8:38 PM on 20 December 2003

What Ralph said, which is another iteration of the Dilbert Principle.

As the total of human knowledge expands, the amount of knowledge any one of us must possess just to make it through one day expands to the point that we will all be imbeciles.

You just got there earlier.

That's no comfort, of course.

Posted by: Fûz at 1:02 AM on 21 December 2003

Gawd, I wish I could add some "wisdom" to this, but it appears that I'm destined to get stuck with the hind teat in any relationship in which I'm involved.

In the latest one, I didn't even manage to find a -teat-. What I found was much farther south. What sucks is that it was determined that it was -all my fault- regardless of where the fault really was.

What -really- sucks is that I wasn't even allowed an opinion as to what was wrong. By default, because I'm male, mine didn't even -count-.

Women don't speak -English-. At least, not the same English that is defined at Webster's ( It must be because -men- did most of the work, especially where -verbs- are described.

Posted by: Steve at 3:10 AM on 21 December 2003

The answer to why you feel so "incredibly stupid" despite twelve years in the system is obvious: The twelve years of which you speak apparently do not include kindergarten, and everyone knows that you learn everything you need to know in life in kindergarten.

Steve - huh??

Posted by: Vickie at 6:59 AM on 21 December 2003

I think Steve meant to plant that on the next item.

And no, I didn't ever attend kindergarten. In fact, owing to a quirk in Texas law, I didn't even start first grade until a couple months short of my seventh birthday. The presumed extra time to mature didn't help me any.

Posted by: CGHill at 9:16 AM on 21 December 2003

Well, there ya go.

Posted by: Vickie at 7:40 PM on 22 December 2003

Oh, yes, but indeed I did. My comments were intended to be an addition to the next "comment" North of where I placed it.

It sucks when one clicks "back" and then clicks on the link =closest= to where one started.

At best, I can claim a "brain fart". I won't even attempt a "second".

Posted by: Steve at 2:12 AM on 23 December 2003

I'd bring up how "quirk in Texas law" might call up visions of redundancy, but that's another story entirely.

I figured Steve misplaced his comment. I think I was more "huh-ing?" over the content itself, particularly where he says that "women don't speak English."

Men and women speak different languages. Read Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus. Both sexes say what they mean, but unfortunately the other never comprehends what the former is saying. And if I misconstrued Steve's comment, then apparently it's not women who don't speak English.

Posted by: Vickie at 4:51 AM on 23 December 2003

I only skipped one grade, but I empathize. I don't think that extra year would have made a difference in my social development.

You might find this article of interest: "Why very intelligent men fail with women"

The author gives ten reasons why smart men fail with women. Most of the points go beyond romantic situations and could apply to any aspect of life that requires reading a social situation. For example, why so many very intelligent men don't have a satisfying career.

Here's one of the 10 mistakes:


Have you ever met a smart guy who always needed to be "right"? Have you ever met someone who would actually argue with you about something they knew nothing about... and make a fool of themselves because they just couldn't shut their "smart mouths"? Over the last few years helping guys improve their success with women, I see this one pattern over and over again...

Smart guys don't like to be "beginners" at ANYTHING. They don't like the idea of screwing up... especially if others are watching. They want to maintain this "smart guy" image of themselves... so they try to always be "The Expert" at whatever they do.

Instead of saying "Hey, you know what? I'm a beginner at this... how do I do it? What should I do first? What next?"... and instead of being totally OK with screwing up, making mistakes, and making a fool of themselves in front of others in order to LEARN...

...they won't risk embarrassment, failure, or others thinking that they're beginners... so they wind up ultimately FAILING.

MORE NEWS JUST IN: It's OK to be a beginner.

He goes on in this vein. Hindsight is 20/20, but if I'd read something like this when I was dating, I probably would have enjoyed it a lot more. Might have made better academic and career decisions as well.

Posted by: Michael Bates at 12:19 AM on 24 December 2003