When intensity and sensitivity are combined with idealism, as so often happens with bright children and adults, good things can happen because they can keenly see how things might be. But this can also lead to frustration, disillusionment, and unhappiness. Sometimes this prompts perfectionism; other times it results in existential depression. Through our relationships, we must provide understanding and nurturance so that they do not feel alone and helpless in a world that seems so paradoxical, arbitrary, and even absurd. We can help nurture their idealism, and indeed we must if the world is to become a better place.
James T. Webb, Ph.D., the founder of SENG, has been recognized as one of the 25 most influential psychologists nationally on gifted education. A former university professor and associate dean, he is the lead author of six books and numerous articles about gifted children. His newest book is Searching for Meaning: Idealism, Bright Minds, Disillusionment, and Hope.