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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.

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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.

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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.

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Right now it’s lacto fermented salsa

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…and Zumba.

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

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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.

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Like a mom obsessed with canning for example.  😉

“Homeless at Harvard”, a book you gotta read

If you are a fan of Black Like Me or Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America, then I have a book that you will love.  It’s called Homeless at Harvard: Finding Faith and Friendship on the Streets of Harvard Square  and it’s by John Christopher Frame.

While Frame was a divinity  student at Harvard, he spent a summer living with the homeless community of Harvard Square, so that he could better understand  their circumstances.  Unlike John Howard Griffin or Barbara Ehrenreich, Frame was upfront about his identity.  He didn’t try to trick anyone.  (Although I totally give Griffin and Ehrenreich a pass for their deceptions.)

“Homeless at Harvard” is a small book and very readable.  Moms and Dads, you can find time to read this.  It would also be a great piece of literature to discuss with your teens.

Frame addresses all the big issues you think about when you consider homelessness: addiction, abuse, gender issues, religion, mental health, and learned helplessness.  Frame doesn’t offer any definitive answers.  There’s nothing neat and tidy about the ending.

While reading this book I found myself really thinking a lot about Ayn Rand.  I don’t like Objectivism at all.  (I even wrote a column about it.)  I think that Jesus stands for everything Ayn Rand is against.

But…if giving a panhandler money means helping them feed their cocaine addiction, then that’s not what I want to do.  But how do you help?  How do you know whom to help?

Near the end of “Homeless Harvard” Frame talks about relationships.  You can offer a homeless person your smile and conversation.  You can acknowledge their personhood.  That’s important too.  Frame really made me think about that in a new way.

After I finished “Homeless at Harvard” I found the author’s website.  I feel like I know every person pictured.  John Christopher Frame should be commended for giving them a voice.

P.S. I received a free copy of this book from Booksneeze in exchange for my honest opinion and review.

I review for BookSneeze®