I do not mean to overlook those children who are exceptionally creative in ways that adult value. Children who demonstrate extraordinary intellectual or artistic abilities need special opportunities and encouragement if their gifts are to be developed. Some of these children will make great contributions to the world.

    Gifted children present parents with a special challenge. It's almost unheard of for a child who is gifted in some field-whether its music, theater or athletics-to become a sustained success in that field without significant parental support. Parents of young tennis prodigies, for example, often invest many thousands of dollars in their development.

    Of course, parental support does not guarantee that a gifted child will become a gifted adult. There are many factors beyond parent's control. For one, the special talents of some children seem to run out before they reach adulthood. Some children simply choose to pursue other interests. Others demonstrate less ability relative to their peers as they grow older and the competition becomes keener. (I'm sure there are many close-to-world-class young gymnasts who far surpass other athletes in local competitions but will achieve their full potential before reaching the upper echelons of their sport.) And whether child prodigies in the art become adult stars depend not only raw talent but also on good promotion and on the response of critics and the public.
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