From the time that their little ones wear their first tiny cap and gown at pre-K graduation, moms and dads start dreaming of the day when their child walks across the stage with a high school or college diploma in hand.
But usually the picture is a little hazy, since it'll be more than a decade before the big event occurs. That's not what happened to one family in Belguim. They are preparing for their son to earn his bachelor's degree before he even reaches puberty.
Laurent Simons is due to graduate this December from Eindhoven University of Technology with a degree in electrical engineering. He's 9, which means that most kids his age are in the fourth grade and trying to master long division.
According to a CNN report on the child prodigy, Laurent comes from a family of doctors, but his talents still shocked his parents. His teachers say that he picks up information like a sponge, and they were able to adjust his college classes to keep pace with the speed for which he picks up information.
The little genius isn't done with school — he plans to pursue a phD and study medicine to reach his goal of developing artificial organs.
In the article, Laurent's mom said she can't explain how her boy became so smart. But she did note that she ate a lot of fish while pregnant. We know that omega 3 fatty acids are good for brain development, but we're not sure there is enough fish in the sea to make a baby that smart — genetics had to play a big part in it as well.
Laurent is obviously incredibly talented, and he has big dreams. Parents should definitely encourage their kids and be proud of their accomplishments.
But the kids who develop at an average pace and gain their high school diploma at 18 and their college degree four years later are just as worthy of praise — and those that do it later in life are too. It's a big accomplishment no matter the age.
We wish Laurent well in grad school, and hope that he achieves whatever he sets his mind to — he's certainly smart enough that the sky is the limit.