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Intensity Fades but doesn’t Forget

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True story: Last night at about 11:38 p.m. I was down in the living room guiltily reading A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin. I say guiltily because an hour before I told my husband “I was just going to read one more chapter.” Ha! Yeah, right.

I heard my nine-year-old’s bedroom door open. “Mom?” he asked. “Are you staying up late reading too?” He had The Underland Chronicles #3: Gregor and the Curse of the Warmbloods in hand. Yup. He’s a chip off the old block.


I could chart my life as a history of crazy book obsessions.

Start with Game of Thrones  and work all the way back to Anne of Green Gables. Or take a look at the home library I’ve assembled for my kids.


Lots of people love books. A love of reading is easy to understand. But for the gifted and highly gifted, reading is usually just one of many obsessions. That’s because gifted people tend to be INTENSE.

I'm the one holding the baby.

I’m the one holding the baby.

Even though I grew up in the San Diego Unified School District’s Seminar Program for highly gifted kids, I always thought of giftedness as something that effected me in school when I was child, but not at home when I was an adult.

Then, when I became a parent and realized that at least one of my own children was gifted, I got a fuller picture.  Part of my work to become a better mom–at one point I printed out and read every article on the SENG resource library–gave me new understandings about myself.

As an adult, I still have passionate curiosity. I move from one learning obsession to the next. My husband likes to say “If it wasn’t this, it would be something else,” every time I pursue a new interest.

I could chart my life has a history of crazy hobby obsessions.


Right now it’s lacto fermented salsa


…and Zumba.

Previous obsessions have included bulb planting, vegetable gardening, canning and let’s not forget blogging.


At one point I was even obsessed with composting which is why we have three different types of compost bins.

The one on the left works best.

The one on the left works best.

A couple of years ago I randomly became interested in the life and times of Rose Wilder Lane and the true story behind Little House on the Prairie. Over the course of a few weeks I read about ten books on the subject, all while holding a two-year-old while she napped. A year later, I wrote an article for the paper called The ‘Little House’ Books still Inspire.

A similar intense study of Ayn Rand lead to the article Motherhood is the Definition of Self Sacrifice.

I titled this post “Intensity Fades but doesn’t Forget” because even after a passion fades, 80% of it sticks with me. I still compost, scrapbook, garden and blog, but those things no longer consume me. What I learned however, sticks around for the long haul.

Intensity helps you reach the 10,000 hour mark.

Intensity helps people reach the 10,000 hour mark.

So the big question is how to help gifted people deal with their intensities before they drive the rest of their family crazy.

I’m not sure I have the answer to this. But hopefully if you raise children to have a good heart, the things they become intensely obsessed with will be a blessing to themselves and their family.


Like a mom obsessed with canning for example.  😉


  1. […] On June 27th Teaching My Baby to Read will share Intensity Fades but doesn’t Forget. […]

  2. Donna says:

    Oh, my goodness. This is me! You should see the bins and bins of books in my basement I cannot bear to part with and evidence of all the other little “obsessions” I have taken on over the years.

  3. Jennifer says:

    “So the big question is how to help gifted people deal with their intensities before they drive the rest of their family crazy.”
    I think that is an interesting point. It’s given me pause this morning…. My “intensities” have certainly helped my husband in raising and educating our children (oh the time I’ve spent reading and researching and teaching) but on the other hand, at times, I find myself hiding how much time I spend on certain “projects.” Now I am wondering is this a coping strategy I learned long ago in my childhood? Because I am very different from the family I was born into and I was not always accepted as I was. You know, people would say things like “so smart but no common sense.” Which is really funny now because my husband says I have so much common sense!

    May I ask, where did you get those bookshelves?

  4. Jennifer says:

    When I say hiding, I don’t mean I am deceitful. Just sometimes I prefer to work on my projects when adults aren’t around to comment on how I spend my free time (funnily enough, my children never begrudge me time spent on my personal projects, neither does my husband really). It has always been odd to me how sometimes it seems more socially acceptable to admit to watching hours of tv or looking at the computer screen or techy gadget than reading books and thinking!

  5. Tabitha says:

    Oh this is sooooo me! I’ve been like this my whole life and never once met anyone who fully understands why I have so many mini-passions but you put it exactly into words! I’ve just started canning and homeschooling and I have piles of projects waiting to begging because I’m still in research phase! I’ve always wanted multiple degrees because I couldn’t stand the idea of only choosing one subject (why would I want to look at the rennasiance from only a historical view? Why not art history, sociology, classical influences…classical studies, theology….) and most people think I’m just crazy! Now my four young’uns are mini me’s for the most part and only now with gifted research have I found people who think like me… I may be weird but I’m no longer alone in all this!

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