Attention Patterns: How Leaders Get Spotted

How Personal Habits of Observation Lead to Simple Social Structures

How do you think animals that live in herds, or packs, or troups, pick leaders? After all, they don't have language. They don't vote. They don't have meetings and hammer out governing structures. Mostly, they watch. They see the big guy. They see the strong guy. They see the guy who tries to take the top spot from the incumbant. They follow the winner.

Animal Patterns in Grade Schools

Grade school kids have a little language, but not much. Grade school kids have seen a few patterns of social structure at home and on TV, but they don't really understand them. How do they operate at school? The same way the animals do: they watch each other closely. They see the big kids. They see the strong kids. They watch various contests to see who wins. Then, they follow the winner, however that contest was won.


What interesting, though, is that among kids there is a much larger number of ways a kid can win a contest for group leadership than the animals have. Each one of these alternatives to size and strength fits into a kid's personal attention pattern for spotting the class leader. When all of these attention patterns from all of the kids in a classroom get blended together, a winner gets identified.

Gifted Kids “Working” Classmates' Attention Patterns

Social attention patterns can be a show-stopper for gifted and talented kids. By default, most of society, including fellow classmates, just assume that the geeks are going to drop into a social subclass and disappear. But there's no reason that a kid should just slide down any default path, well, I guess, unless they want to. Sliding down a default path is the opposite of self-determination. Full control of one's life calls for the skills that allow a kid to break out of molds and into life-trajectories that they prefer...and maybe even take a few good friends along with them.

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More on Be the Boss by 12

Be the Boss by 12 is a series of ebooks designed to help any gifted and talented child grow into a successful adult. The gifted child can add the skills of leadership to other gifts and talents. Such kids can build social habits that make school a richer experience. In their futures, the powers of leadership enable the gifted child to engage future decision-makers on a peer-to-peer footing to negotiate great career paths and compensation.

Attention Patterns and Their Consequences

Erik Lenderman: Hi folks. This is Erik Lenderman, back again with Dr. Tom Meylan, former NASA scientist and Ph.D. in astrophysics, today talking about his new book, Be the Boss by 12, Volume Zero, Parents' Prep, talking about how parents can prepare to raise their gifted and talented child. Today we're talking about Chapter Four, “Attention Patterns: Habits of Observations, and Their Consequences.” Tom, can you tell us more about what about what this chapter's going to cover for folks?


Thomas Meylan Ph.D.: Sure. There's an idea in this attention pattern's issue that, I won't say that I discovered it, but as I was pursuing the whole Be the Boss by 12 concept it became increasingly clear that most of the issues that come together to identify a “boss” in a grade school situation have to do with the way that the kids perceive each other. Everybody's always watching everybody. It doesn't matter whether it's little kids or grownups. Everybody's “people watching”; some for entertainment, some to figure out the pecking order, some for career development.


But, there's a lot of pretuned attention items, and they form this pattern. So, if you've got a bunch of grade school kids in a classroom, first day in third grade, whatever, they're eye-balling each other. And they're just kind of looking for a couple of very obvious things. Part of the attention pattern key that we use in Be the Boss by 12 is what we call “the boss pattern.” And so all of the kids are looking at everybody else to see, “Who's the boss in this classroom?”


Now, the teacher's the obvious boss, but then there's the playground boss. That's almost always a matter of size and strength. You know, the biggest kid on the playground is the boss. And everybody falls into line. It's almost to a “t” that the big guy is the boss, and the little guy at the end is the last guy to get picked on the team,...that's real. That's not fake.


But, it turns out that there are other status-making points in that boss pattern that the kids are also watching for. And if your gifted or talented child happens to be small, they are probably going to be smart enough to identify some of these other boss pattern markers that they can use.


Now, it could be they use their voice. Everybody knows that a big voice is almost as scary as a big person, right? I mean, there's all kinds of small, litle women in this world who are running things, and they're running them well because the voice is the intimidation piece instead of the size. So, these are part of that attention pattern.


That's going to be a very, very big part in the whole Be the Boss by 12 series. Everything is going to hinge on the habits that a group of people bring to the table, based on their particular [individual] versions of the boss attention pattern. There's a bunch of other attention pattern, but for the book, it's the boss-spotting pattern that we're interested in.


One of the other ones that we try to develop in teenagers is the attention pattern for successful drivers. “Pay attention to the right stuff. That would not include your phone!” Right? So, this would be the type of thing just to kind of relate what we mean by “attention pattern”. Think of driving as the pattern of attention you need to apply to survive the drive in the Montgomery County (Maryland) region.


Erik Lenderman: That's great, that's great. So, talking about how do kids develop these skills to capitalize upon, if it's not their physical size, the other ways in which they can appear in the social domain to be leaders, and to cause others to want to follow their leadership. And so, if you guys want to learn more about how to prepare your kid to be a leader when they're gifted and talented, and maybe don't have the size, but they have the intelligence, and/or musical skill, or any other unique gift that they can bring to bear, and you want to help your kids learn how to become leaders in their communities as children, then get a copy of Tom's book. Click the link below, and you can get a copy of his book. We're going to continue going through additional chapters. So stay tuned and we'll be back in just a moment.


Early Enthusiasm for Be the Boss by 12

Raising a child is not easy. If you have a gifted and talented child, it's an even bigger challenge. Many of them grow up without much support to realize the full potential of their unique abilities. Dr. Thomas Meylan, through his book series has done a masterful job of giving parents and gifted kids real, usable tools to succeed in life. Leadership is generally not an emphasis in traditional schools. This is a must read for parents, educators, psychologists, and others who care for the gifted and talented. Bharat Chitnavis, CEO VitalStatistix Inc., CO-Founder Gifted and Talented Network (LinkedIn), and parent of a gifted girl who started college at 13

How it works — Prepare a Genius for Adult Life

Boss by 12 Cover
1

RELAX!
The gifts will mostly take care of themselves.

2

Build emotional toughness
into the child's inner dialog.

3

Teach the child to project
the social cues of "The Boss."


Be the Boss by 12, Volume Zero: Parents' Prep
Available Now!

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