Many world religions, such as Hinduism and Buddhism, believe in reincarnation; in fact, that's precisely how they explain the existence of child prodigies.
Reincarnated or not, child prodigies have provided some of the most fun and memorable moments of my career, over the years. I have had the extreme honor of working with many of them.
However, I must point out that there is a marked difference between working with bright, precocious kids and working with child prodigies.
When I work with children who are talented, with above-average IQs, the experience is rich and deeply rewarding.
When I work with children of that caliber, I feel like I'm learning as much from them as they are from me--they make me a better coach.
Having helped many young kids launch major entertainment careers, these are some of the things I noticed right away--how I knew they were going to be rich, successful, and famous, without testing their IQs.
No. 1: Alarmingly sharp ability to communicate emotions
Most children are often unable to describe things with a certain richness because of their limited education and life experience.
Child prodigies speak with a vividness and an emotional clarity and maturity that is startling.
For example, to describe the enlightened state he felt after one of our sessions, a young client of mine, "Viggo," explained that he felt "lifted with helium and steadied with a stone."
He was 11 years old.
No. 2: Presence
The truly gifted kids that I have worked with have a disarming presence and awareness.
Many adults spend years trying to develop the commanding presence that these children radiate so effortlessly. It's mesmerizing.
No. 3: Sustained focus during conversation
Sustained focus during a conversation is something we expect from adults, though it can be disconcerting when children are able to exert that stamina and concentrate unwaveringly on a topic, without the restlessness or mental fatigue that ordinary children usually get.
These talented children show up to sessions and class more prepared than many of my adult clients.
No. 4: Abnormally sharp memory
Young geniuses are able to recall conversations, as well as things they've read or overheard, with astounding accuracy.
They are also an extremely quick study, and can memorize text exceedingly fast.
No. 5: Ease of rapport when interacting with adults
While regular children might find prolonged interactions with adults a bit overwhelming or intimidating, child prodigies are markedly at ease when engaging with adults.
They are able to communicate with a fluidity and eye contact that is rare for most children.
No. 6: Deep level of understanding
Because the accelerated child's mind is so advanced, they are able to intuit a range of situations without needing clear explanations, the way other children would.
They understand the unspoken language of behavior with a heightened sensitivity toward the people and feelings involved.
This often translates to a mature sense of humor and the ability to appreciate grownup jokes.
Raising a prodigy is a gift and privilege. As hard as it may be to not impose your wishes for the child's future, trust in his or her abilities and let the child guide you.