How does a father deal with a more-intelligent son?

Say the boy is twelve, going to a gifted school, with an IQ around 180 and just a touch of autism—but precocious.  He’s a nice kid and respectful, but one of his missing pieces is that he thinks everybody knows everything he knows and he doesn’t understand when they don’t.  He reads Crime and Punishment and studies Calculus.  He skims through a light novel in one evening.  He knows what his dad is about to say before the words are formed.

Now, the father is a foreman at a machine shop.  He’s good at what he does.  He spent his life working himself up to that level in a highly specialized field.  He’s respected—feels he can do anything.  He’s big and tough and has been known to solve his problems with his fists.  He never finished high school.  He doesn’t read books.  Most of what he knows is his work.

This father knows his son has a huge intellectual edge.  Maybe he needs to prove he deserves such an intelligent son.  Maybe he’s a little intimidated for the first time in his life.  They’re together every day on the trip home from school.  How does he engage the boy’s attention?  How does he hold his interest?  What do they talk about?  The father believes he has important life lessons to teach, but how does he go about doing that?


Filed under Characters, Conflict, Influence, Relationships

7 responses to “INTELLIGENT SON

  1. Jerry Macey

    As the world has changed going back to cave men going from hunters to farming the offspring have had to learn new methods of survival ( whether it was suppling the families need first hand or making the money to buy them ) I would guess that with every generation the sons and now daughters had new challanges that their fathers did not face and had to equip themselves to conquer them in order to survive. The one thing that does not change are the values that are learned from your father. The best way to teach them is by example and the best time to sort them out is the car ride home one on one. Intelligence is the capability to learn wisdom is how to use the intelligence that is what the fathers have been passing down

  2. Chuck Warren

    How the father interacts with his more intelligent son raises interesting and complex issues. The imbalance of intellect sets a fertile environment for character development and dialog.

    The ying to this yang: how does the son relate with his father? When conversing, should the son withhold the full extent of his insights and thoughts, or express only what he perceives would be readily understood by the father? If the father makes a statement indicating he misunderstands an issue, how should the son react? Should he use a different intellectual level when interacting with the father on interpersonal issues?

    Just my stream of consciousness thoughts.

  3. Ann Brice

    If he surrounds the son with a good Christian love, they’ll figure out how to relate to each other, no matter how brilliant the son is.

    If they don’t have that love bond, or if the father hides it, then it’s going to be difficult.

    My understanding from a previous post is that, in the book, the father is teaching the son all the wrong things, and he’s spiritually lost. I see all kinds of conflict there. I bet the book is full of problems for the characters.

  4. Bill Blaire

    The dad should just act natural. So what if he doesn’t catch everything his son says. He can ask, can’t he? If that boy shows any kind of respect, he’ll listen to his father.

  5. John Jonelis

    Let me add something to the mix. Remember, this is an adult talking to a boy of twelve. The father lacks education, but he has experience to counter his son’s intellect. How else might he compensate?

    • Melissa Hart

      Well, the first thing that springs to mind is the possibility of intimidation, which could be a very real way for the father to dominate the more-intelligent son. But it occurs to me that these are characters playing a game of wits. Physical strengh is of no help. The father must compete intellectually. Your point about compensating using his experience is good, but I think he needs something more. I don’t know what it could be.

    • Bill Blaire

      In this game, the kid will stomp on his dad until the old man learns the ropes or maybe finds a weakness in his opponent.

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