I see that Time Asia published a feature on Asia's gifted children entitled "Small Wonders." It's really very interesting, Time's more ornate lexical fancies synthesized into existential introspection notwithstanding. "Beautiful freaks," indeed. But geniuses are not always prodigies, and prodigies are not always geniuses. Mozart titillated the European royal courts at the age of four by playing the harpsichord blind-folded; Cezanne taught himself to paint at the age of twenty or thereabouts. (However, Mozart is quite the predistigious, prodigious monkey). So cognitive complexities and variations and recensions with regard to this issue will not be so easily summarized by literary journalism, even when structured in the form of the relatively harmless biographical profile.
Nevertheless, the writers of Time expend considerable column space meditatively pondering the Nature, Life, and Times of the Beautiful Freak. Strangely enough, the children in question do not or, perhaps, would rather not. Ponder, I mean. In times when they (seem to) do so, the meditation is always framed as an eyebrow-raised answer to some gentle leading question: "What does it feel like to be winning chess tournaments at the age of five?" "It's cool. (What the hell are you talking about? You didn't win chess tournaments at five?)" And so on.
You might then think it would only be logical to expect the equally freak!parents to provide these detailed philosophical expositions, and Time includes quite a few interviews of the aforementioned. But they don't, which shouldn't be unexpected itself. The process of bringing a child into the world is fairly well-documented, in the same way that the process of photosynthesis is well-documented. A child's talents come into the open; they are then hunted down, and bludgeoned into insensibility. That process does imply some complications, but in the same way that a syllogism would present complications when the premises are not stated clearly enough. So it isn't so surprising that a question like "How do you raise a beautiful freak?" should be answered in terms of a practical, objective quantification. Like a tea-blending manual, one might say. You do this and then you do that and you do this and you should be expecting that. If it doesn't taste right, look it up in the Six Theories of Child Development and deduce another methodology therefrom.
Like, for example, YoYo Ma's father wrote that he started teaching his son to play the cello when he was two. "Coupez la difficulte en matre," which just meant that he would reduce a piece of music to a number of very small short tasks; the child was to master one task a day. That's the same thing he did with Chinese characters. One character a day (which should make that two tasks, but let's not quibble). No beautiful freaks and incandescences and brilliances and the-fate-of-human-whatever, oh no. Just Coupez la difficulte en matre. James Mill was similarly inclined. He taught his son J.S. Greek at the age of three by flashing cards with Greek vocables at him everyday, and he started him in on Herodotus and Xenophon and the Memorials of Socrates and Isocrates and the six dialogues of Plato at six, and he said that what he had done to J.S. could assuredly be done to any child of healthy physical constitution and average capability. And while he did all these things, he was also busy writing a history of India and perchance monographs on Sanskrit, so there was really no chance to write a dialectical Time essay about whys and wherefores and beautiful freaks.
I doubt I would either, and this is why I don't think I can really be trusted to parent a child, mine or anyone else's, in a way that would not be so tea-manual. Because while I am not a Time writer, do not have the appropriate genes, do not know how to play the cello, and certainly have no intention of writing a history of India, I think I am just curious enough to perhaps devise a very specific way of raising a paleontologist, an astrophysicist, and an expert on Palmyran epigraphs. Just because.