In 2009, a two-and-a-half-year-old little boy named Oscar Wrigley became the youngest person to ever join Mensa. Last year, little Heidi Hankins became the youngest female, at age 4, to be welcomed into the brainy brigade. And now, we have yet another super-smart toddler whose parents just can’t wait to show him off! Let’s all congratulate Sherwyn Sarabis, the 3-year-old little guy from South Yorkshire who can count 200 and name every country in the world, on being the newest pint-sized prodigy.
Seriously parents, can we all agree that toddlers in Mensa does not need to be a thing? IQ-testing our infants should not become a trend. The high-IQ society already has roughly 100 members under the age of 10 and I seriously doubt they need much more.
There is no question that these little ones are impressive. Sherwyn’s tested IQ was 136. It’s a ways behind Heidi’s 159, but still well above average intelligence, which ranks at about 100. These kids are reading early. They’re doing complex math. They’re interested in world events. They can probably hold their own in any adult conversation.
That’s all wonderful. But it should not be the sum of their existence. “Being smart,” should not be all they have to think about at the age of three. These kids will have plenty of time to join a society of slightly pretentious, like-minded individuals when they’re older. They’ll be able to decide if joining the “gifted and talented community” is right for them.
However, I think the best thing these parents could do for their kids is to let them stay young as long as possible. Let them be kids, whatever that youthful immaturity means for them. I’m not saying that every child is going to want to run around on the playground mindlessly for hours. You can’t force extremely intelligent offspring to enjoy menial games, just like you can’t force a child of normal intelligence to appreciate the world news.
That being said, there’s lots of support to be had out there for intelligent children that will still allow them to interact with their peers. There’s more to raising a gifted child then having them take a test and get pictures taken holding a plaque.
I don’t want to downplay Sherwyn’s accomplishments. I’m sure he is a really amazing little boy. I just don’t want to see a ton of children thrust into this world of competitive intellectual achievement so early. Toddlers have nothing to prove. They don’t need a Mensa membership.