People Share Their Most Heartwarming Stories Of Super Smart Kids.
If you've got a kid this smart, you'd better keep your head on a swivel.
This piece is based on two Quora questions. Links on the last page.
1. The Enigma Machine.
When my son was six, the 'rule' was if he wanted a new game installed on the iPad, he'd come and see me. He'd find one he liked and bring me the tablet. I'd decide if it was appropriate and, if so, enter the password and download the game. I'd always turn the device away so he never had access to the password himself. As expected, he always asked for the password so he could do it himself, but he never got it.
One day, he brought me the iPad and we went through the usual process. As soon as I handed it back to him, he smiled and told me the correct password. I must have looked puzzled. Fortunately, he couldn't resist telling me how he knew.
He'd found a game he didn't particularly want but which was childish enough that he knew I'd definitely approve of it. He then waited until I was standing in front of the patio doors and handed me the device, knowing I'd turn it away from him. Turning it away from him meant turning it toward the doors. That way, he could watch what I typed in the reflection on the glass.
I'm not sure if it's the smartest thing he's ever done, but it's pretty devious and impressed the hell out of me.
2. Lose yourself.
This conversation was between my dad and my sister when she was just 6 years old.
Sister: Why aren't you laughing, daddy?
Dad: I have a lot on my mind.
Sister: If you lose some of your mind, maybe then you can laugh.
If that doesn't perfectly describe the paradox of human thinking then I don't know what does.
3. Personally, I have all my big thinks in the bathroom.
I remember a night when my son (who is currently 13, and now in 7th grade) was still in kindergarten. I guess he was 6 years old. I was watching him as he was standing by the sink, brushing his teeth, getting ready for bed. He seemed to be somewhere else, lost in thought.
Then he paused for a moment, spit into the sink, looked up at me, and said something remarkable. (continued...)
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He said: "Dad, how do we know we aren't just a bunch of puppets, and somebody else isn't pulling our strings?"
Dumbfounded, I remember sitting down on the toilet seat next to him, grasping for words, searching for an answer, and thinking to myself, "Wow, I'm screwed - he's already smarter than me..."
4. The recess art society.
A few years ago when I was teaching a class of five and six year olds, a child came in and asked to do show and tell. He showed a wrapped candy. He told us that he had taken it from an art gallery, from an exhibit that was a pile of candies in a corner.
A few of the kids then blew my mind completely by having an intense debate about whether or not such a piece truly constituted art. It was unbelievable. I just sat back and marvelled at the amazing depth of their discussion.
A young fella said (and please bear in mind that he was five years old at the time):
"I keep wondering if it's still art when all the candies have been taken and it's back to being an empty corner."
Some of the other comments I remember specifically are:
"It can't be art because it's not in a frame.
"It's art because it's in an art gallery." "But people are in an art gallery and they're not art." "Yes they are!
"I think candy on the floor is littering.
It was the most awe inspiring day of my teaching career so far.
5. Kid's gonna be a detective.
My daughter when she was 20 months old:
My hubby and I locked our bedroom door for a quickie and came out.
Daughter: What were u doing inside?
Me: We were just getting changed.
Daughter: But you're wearing the same t-shirt...
6. Carbon speed dating.
I was working at the museum of natural history, and a child on a tour did the smartest thing imaginable. She was on a school trip, with her religious school. The professor explained to them that the museums carbon dating machine could test how old something was by analyzing a sample.
This one girl raised her hand. She had mischief in her eyes. (continued...)
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"Sister Elizabeth?" she asked her teacher.
"Can they tell me how old this is?"
She yanked a copy of Harry Potter out of her knapsack and handed it to the professor. He shrugged and put it into the machine.
After some time, he removed it. "It appears that the paper is approximately one hundred and twenty years old."
"Ah ha," cried the youngster! "I knew the bible wasn't written thousands of years ago!" She tore off the Harry Potter jacket and her schools New Testament was revealed underneath.
"Child," said the sister. "That is just one copy of the bible. It is not the original."
"But you said that God is everywhere! If God is everywhere than that book should be as old as God!"
"Its a metaphor. God is not literally in this book!"
The girl smiled wickedly. "Finally," she replied, "we see eye to eye!"
Afterwards I saw the girl sitting on a bench by herself during lunch (her punishment). I said to her, "That wasn't very smart - embarrassing your teacher. Now you're all by myself."
The girl smiled. "I bet three of my friends their deserts that I could make the sister loose her temper in front of the whole class." She then pointed to a pile of empty candy wrappers in her lunch box.
7. Piano man.
I had a friend's small child (perhaps 4-5 years old at the time) over, and he discovered my piano and banged on it a little.
"What's that?" said an amused parent, who probably intended to introduce the word "piano," if he didn't already know it.
"Sound," replied the child, and wandered off to explore the next curiosity. Nobody corrected him.
This happened when my daughter was three. We had just visited my wife after she was recovering in the hospital from her C-section delivering my son. On the way out, there was an open door where two doctors were discussing an x-ray. My daughter ran into the room and got on top of a stool that was in between the two doctors. (continued...)
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She said, "I know what's wrong with this patient." The two doctors looked at each other quizzically and one said: "Yes, and what is your diagnosis?" I apologized. The other doctor said, "We're not that much in a hurry, we would like to hear what she has to say."
My daughter pointed at the x-ray and named off the bones she was able to see - femur, tibia, fibula, patella. And then she pointed at the top bone and said, "the man has a broken femur", pointing at the fracture on the X-ray. The doctor said, "Perfect diagnosis. But we have one problem. The patient in this x-ray is not a man." She responded, "how was I supposed to know?" The doctor explained briefly, "Women on average have shorter femurs than men. This femur is only 17 inches long."
By this time, I was completely embarrassed by the interruption. The two doctors turned to me and asked if I had worked at the hospital. I told them no, I'm an engineer. "How does she know so much about the human anatomy?" I told them that I ran out of body parts to teach her when she was two, she learned all of the major bones and muscles. She absorbs everything like a sponge.
We parted ways after the two doctors said to each other, "get ready to pay for medical school, Dad."
9. So many activities.
Once when I was trying to plan something for my wife's birthday I asked my 5-year-old daughter what we should do for her.
"I dunno", she said. "Well how do we show someone we love them?" I asked. "You play with them," was her answer.
The clarity of that response floored me. For all the parents that try to buy their child's love by giving them expensive gifts: if you want to show your love do something with them. It's so simple and yet how easily we lose this simple clear truth.
10. Some assembly required.
I was packing my bag for a business trip when our 4-year-old daughter approached, asking for my help in assembling her dinosaur-bone surprise-egg toy.
I told her that I couldn't do it as the instructions were have been misplaced. I promised her to that I would look for the instructions once I got back. Arranging those bones would've taken more than 10 minutes and I might have missed my flight.
She rushed to get her crayons and a piece of paper and seconds later she shouted to me, "I've got the instructions! It should be fairly easy to assemble now. Can you please assemble for me now?"
I paused my packing and laughed. These are the "instructions" she gave me... (continued...)
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11. I sink I can.
My 5-year-old nephew was very interested in boats, and also very concerned that one can easily sink. He gave it a lot of thought (kicked everybody out of the room telling us that he needs time to think). After about an hour of thinking, he came up with a solution: build a boat that is made out of hollow sections, so that if one section is damaged, the rest could keep it afloat. He couldn't sketch it himself, so he explained his idea to his dad who sketched a plan for him.
I swear, hes gonna be an engineer.
When my daughter was 2, she bumped her head on the corner of the kitchen counter. She grabbed some toilet tissue out of the bathroom, wadded it up, tore a few strips of tape, and affixed the wad of toilet tissue to the corner to protect her head. Baby genius.
13. They don't like me, but at least they know me.
My teenage son, commenting on my teenage daughter, as she was struggling through an emotionally-laden high school peccadillo:
"She is much more popular than I am, but she doesn't have as many friends as I do."
That insight has proved invaluable to me in parenting each kid.
14. Parts sold separately.
When my daughter was four, we were watching some children's TV shows on a commercial channel. All the ads in the breaks were for the usual rubbish toys oversold by unbearably cute kids and featuring excruciatingly twee fully-sung jingles. Over the course of, say, 20 minutes there might have been 3 five minute programmes and four or five of ads between each one.
Worried that she might want all of - or at least some of - the wares being relentlessly flogged, I asked her, "do you think you would like any of the things they are showing?" (continued...)
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She turned to me and said "No, I don't think so. They can't be very good things if they need to keep trying so hard to tell people to like them."
15. Go forth and multiply.
When my son was learning the multiplication tables as a third-grader, he 'hacked' learning the fives: he said "you just half the number you are multiplying and forget the decimal!" 5x7=35 (half of seven is 3.5) 5x5=25 (half of 5 is 2.5).
What blew my mind is that he understood dividing by 2 and that 1/2 of a whole number is 0.5 before he even knew the times tables! I was super impressed with the multiple levels of mathematics reasoning that he had acquired so early in his development.
16. Who got him a thesaurus?
In 1992, my son, Luke, was 18 months old. He went to daycare for the day. About 4pm, I picked him up and when we got home I asked him how his day was.
"Reasonable," was his response. Well, alright then.
When my step-daughter was about 9 years old, she came into the room where the adults were gathered and asked, "What time are we leaving?" Her mom said, "About a quarter after." She looked puzzled for a moment, then said, "So, 9:25?" To which I responded, "Quarter of an hour, not quarter of a dollar."
She thought about it for a minute. Then, she announced, "Oh, ok, 9:15. Got it." Then she turned and went back to where she had been playing.
I was so impressed that she took an indirect answer, figured out the relationship, did the math and got the right answer. She's grown up now but continues to be one of the smartest people I know.
Breaking up is hard to do.
And when you get the law involved, it's even worse. But sometimes people don't need the law's help to make things overcomplicated, they just have a grand ole time making that happen themselves.
People on the front lines of human cruelty include divorce lawyers. These are their stories.