Imagine your child awakens one morning with a super power, lets say she can see through objects…including clothes. She sees naked people everywhere. Naked people including you.
Obviously you wonder at the origin of this super power. Neither of her parents can see through objects, nor her parents’ parents. And slowly there is the realization that your child can see through you- all your beauty, your fallacy, your special human awkwardness. And this is when the apprehension begins to brew.
You ruminate on the following:
“How did she come to be so different?”
“What will be the trajectory of her life?”
“Will she ever be able to share her power with others?”
“Will she see me the same way she did before she realized she had this power?”
Now pull back from the example at hand and replace her X-Ray vision with the super power of boundless intellect. Rather than being able to see through objects she can see through fallacy, illogical reasoning, she can cut to the clarity of elegant solutions. Let’s imagine that this child is radically accelerated in school by five to six years beyond her chronological peers. Let’s imagine that you, in all your nakedness, your normalcy, your typicalness are somehow presented with the grandiose responsibility for raising this child. And the responsibility is heavy. And there are very few people to help you carry the weight. And most of them laugh at the mere thought of you needing that help.
And so, you ruminate, and you feel the uncertainty. Waxing on the aforementioned questions and adding new inquiries to the file on a a daily basis. But a strange thing happens as time steadies you and your child on this new path- acceptance. The questions remain, but the acceptance brings with it the joy of wonder. You can marvel at the super power, tempt it, coax it, watch it bloom, and hypothesize at its trajectory. Not a day passes that I can’t help but wonder at the raw dance of DNA and the secret of the womb that produced this intellectual pod of possibility.
At least, this is my experience and these seem to be my stages of reckoning. Despite what is now years of evidence that my child is an outlier among outliers I still tend to norm her and wonder in astonishment by her insights and abilities. The apprehension and uncertainty still chases me around after each pivotal decision. I suppose that this is just parenting, but it feels different when you’re bringing up a cheetah. Fortunately, for me, the sense of wonder and astonishment prevails.
I suspect that as the caretaker of said “intellectual pod” that this sense wonder helps me out from under the weight of responsibility , that is delivers to me a sense of hope in the prospects of the present and the future. While the cheetah is rare and its astonishing capabilities bring forth this flurry of emotional responses by those entrusted with it- the cheetah also creates for itself a remarkable niche…opportunity.