10 Child Prodigies


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Author's Note: 10 Child Prodigies

Like many other parents, I worry about child prodigies. I worry that the fire that drives them to achieve so much so young will one day burn them. That they will peak early, fail to distinguish themselves as adult artists and be left with nothing to show for a childhood lost to practicing, painting and playing chess. I was touched by the story of Saul Chandler, a hard-drinking and solitary boat captain from New York who used to be Saul Lipshutz, a violin prodigy who played Carnegie Hall before he was 11, but had a nervous breakdown in his teens. But I was heartened to read about startling talents like Emily Bear, now 17, whose parents told NPR in 2012 that they were sticking to a "60-year plan" for Emily's happiness, not a two-year plan.

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