Up until this point, I’ve always blamed my husband (the man with the high IQ and near-genius abilities) for the Engineer’s intellectual abilities. I say blame because the brunt of his curiosity and inquisitiveness often falls on me. After reading Paula Prober’s new book I’m not sure that I can get away with that anymore.
I was recently given the chance to review Prober’s new book “Your Rainforest Mind: A Guide to the Well-Being of Gifted Adults and Youth.” It was an interesting read. I went into it hoping for some insight to help me deal with the Engineer, and I ended up recognizing aspects of myself (and my husband) instead.
Prober generally uses the term “rainforest mind” instead of the more controversial “gifted” term. In her words:
“rain forests are particularly complex: multi-layered, highly sensitive, colorful, intense, creative, fragile, overwhelming, and misunderstood…”
Paula Prober, “Your Rainforest Mind: A Guide to the Well-Being of Gifted Adults and Youths”
If I say “gifted,” you might think any number of positive or negative things associated with that term. I’m guessing that most of them would be academically focused. What I most like about Prober’s term “rainforest minds” is that it includes many aspects not normally associated with the term gifted: sensitivity, a love for beauty, and so on.
Prober’s title is blunt and to the point. Her book is a guide – a wealth of resources to pull from concisely listed at the end of each chapter. The chapters themselves focus on common groupings of traits found in rainforest-minded people. The book is littered with personal stories about Prober’s former clients, and she uses their stories to illustrate the general types of rainforest minds.
If you’re looking for a guidebook to raise your own rainforest-minded child, this book probably isn’t what you’re looking for. The resources listed in each chapter are highly useful but the book as a whole leans toward self-help.
If you’re looking for answers for why your child has a rainforest mind, this book functions something like a mirror. Odds are, if your child is gifted, you or your partner probably are too. They got it from somewhere, right?
If you’re like me you’ve gone through your entire life knowing that you weren’t “normal,” but never identifying yourself as gifted. Prober’s book points out specific traits that we don’t usually associate with being gifted but that make perfect sense.
I’m that person that stops dead in my tracks when the sunset shifts to a sublime spectacle. I’m the weirdo in the car next to you craning my neck to watch the birds fly overhead. I’m the one who feels more at rest and spiritual in a forest than in a church pew. Yup, all facets of a rainforest mind. Some facets. Not all, of course.
If you’re the parent of a gifted child, I suggest reading this book for your sake. (No, I don’t get anything for recommending it.) Like all self-help books, reading it may feel uncomfortable at times, but that’s ok.