A 16-year-old was walking out of my office this week and saw a copy of my book on the table. He turned around and asked, “So why do smart kids worry?” He was the third person who had asked that day so I laughed and said “We’ll talk about it next week.” Being a sixteen-year-old, and a very assertive one at that, he said, “No, I really need to know!”
So I did my quick, one line synopsis of what the book is about and told him that smart kids worry because their minds take them places they aren’t ready to go emotionally. He thought for a second and said, “So that’s why thinking about what’s beyond the universe and what life is going to be like when I’m eighty is stressing me out?”
EXACTLY. For several months we had been talking about the BIG stuff. What is the point of life anyway? What if we aren’t the only ones in the galaxy? Why do adults spend their whole life saving money only to be too old to use it? And, even though I tried to steer him back to 16-year-old things like getting a car, driving to the movies on weekends and going to music venues, he was beyond that. Those things weren’t important to him because his mind had already gone beyond them.
So next week when we sit down together I will listen to more BIG ideas, help him sort them out but ultimately, I will steer him back to what’s important. His present life. What he did that day. What he will do tomorrow. Who he hung out with today. What his grades are today, and help him realize that no matter how much time he spends worrying about the BIG questions, BIG questions will always stay BIG and if you spend too much time on them, they will stress even the most stable kids (and adults) completely out.
For more information on how to help smart kids, discover Why Smart Kids Worry.