As many readers of this blog know, Jan & Bob Davidson (with whom I co-wrote Genius Denied) are helping to open a new public school at the University of Reno called The Davidson Academy.
It has been getting a fair amount of press for being the first public school for profoundly gifted kids in this country. The school opens next year.
I would not be shocked to find families moving to Nevada to enroll their children. There are just not that many schools that aim to develop the talents of children with IQs of 160+. I've been thinking about this in the context of general talent development -- there are not that many schools or programs aimed at developing any kid's profound talents. If your kid is a profoundly talented musician, for instance, you'll probably need to live near a big city or a university with a great orchestra. Often, you hear of people moving to NYC for Juilliard.
Then these parents become known as "pushy." I've always thought this is unfair. Pushiness is necessary for some fields, because it's not an option to wait until the child is older or pursues such talents as an adult. I was recently reading about the English long bow, used in the middle ages against England's rival, France. British boys were trained since childhood on how to stretch the long bow, so their chest muscles grew in a way that enabled mastery. French children didn't develop those muscles, so even when the French got their hands on these weapons, they couldn't use them to full effect.
Likewise, almost no professional orchestral musicians picked up an instrument for the first time as an adult, or even late in their teens. Our brains develop in ways where pathways are forged early. If you do not learn the skills associated with many talents when you are young enough for them to become second nature, you will never develop the talent as you might.
Yet our culture is full of stories of pushy parents who forced a child to labor at a certain skill or talent when he really wanted to (fill in the blank) instead. We don't tell stories of the kid who would have been a great musician, but never became a professional musician, because his parents didn't want to push.