Readers, welcome to our second issue of the Duke Gifted Letter. Today’s busy parents want to know what works when it comes to supporting their gifted children. This issue contains a wide range of articles that provide information on fostering the intellectual and emotional well-being of gifted children.
Our lead article discusses flow, perhaps best understood as a level of heightened mental consciousness. Athletes, artists, performers—in fact, anyone engaged in skilled activities—describe flow as a rarefied state of optimal concentration, immersion, and enjoyment. Flow seems to coincide with the experience of peak performance.
For instance, in my own work as a psychologist, I have at times become so immersed in a therapy session that I lost all sense of time and seemed extraordinarily attuned to the client’s inner experience. The timing of my reflections, suggestions, and interpretations seemed particularly accurate and helpful. These peak experiences have made my work especially satisfying. However, flow doesn’t just happen for adults.
Flow can also be an important concept in nurturing the talents of gifted youngsters. Achieving peak performance requires hard work and strong motivation. We want parents to know what they can do to encourage and support their children’s experience of flow. Just as elite athletes and performers need coaches to help them reach peak performance, gifted youngsters rely on their parents and other interested parties to realize their potential.
—Steven I. Pfeiffer, PhD