“I hoped to be adopted, but I wasn’t cute enough,” Lajos Kristof argues, in a feature story published in “Jurnalul National”.
When he was ten, Lajos was bored to death, as there was no one with whom to chat about psychology. He would carry around, to class, piles of psycho-pedagogical treatises, sit in the last row and absorb every line. In the meantime, his classmates would barely begin to read fairy-tales or learn to tell the subject and predicate apart. How on earth had Lajos learnt to speak so fluently, carefully articulating every word, so that he, the poorest and hungriest child in the class, could have easily passed for the child of a linguist? For this was what happened, nearly every day, in the orphans’ home he lived in: the elder children would beat him in order to steal his food.
“I hoped to be adopted, but I wasn’t cute enough for it. Couples were looking for beautiful, healthy and obedient children,” Lajos Kristof recounts, for “Jurnalul National”. He, on the other side, was tiny and swarthy, with the face of a bohemian little mouse and one ear bigger than the other. Worst still, he was rather wild and, in the first grade, would refuse to go to school. The institution’s staff thought he was retarded and that he should be sent to a school for children with special needs. He was saved by his tutor, who threatened that, if the child was sent away, he would quit. At 13, after reading his way through dozens of psychology books, Lajos had made up his mind – he would become a psychologist! He took up writing poetry as well, he published a book, he won a number of awards, he worked as a volunteer, he got a job as a journalist and, after doing all that, he was bored again. This is how he ended up getting accepted in the prestigious IRSCA Gifted Education association, on nothing but a CV and a promise: “I want to edit a magazine for you”. He did edit a magazine for them and went on to be appointed “Ambassador for extremely gifted children, in major social risk situations”. He made history, as this was the first time a young man coming from an orphans’ home appealed to the state institutions, on behalf of an entire generation. His letter started as follows: “Look at me as a success story of our time on this side of the Carpathians”.
Now, Lajos is 26 and he provides counselling to exceptional children at the IRSCA Gifted Education, as the director of a department. He is training for a unique job in Romania: “coach” for geniuses. Lajos is now pursuing a Master’s degree and is planning to get a Doctor’s degree as well. He doesn’t have a home, he’s still living in a halfway house in Targu Mures – he is living in a matchbox room and dreaming he will one day win the Nobel Peace Prize.
In fact, Lajos’s biggest dream is to make the world a better place, the professor Florian Colceag, his mentor says. The professor is 60 years old and, up to now, has had a chance to teach over 1,000 exceptionally gifted children.
“It never ceases to amaze me that we have more exceptionally gifted children in Romania now than we used to have ten years ago. I hear the word ‘excellence’ more and more often. The number of highly gifted children across the world is increasing as well. In terms of percentage, this is one thousand times larger than the norm. These children have a high level of awareness and are able to grasp complex theories,” the professor explained.
Oddly enough, in his opinion, it is precisely at times of chaos that most geniuses are born. Why is that? “Because water lilies grow in muddy waters,” he says. In fact, this happens, he thinks, because “this is the natural reaction of the social metabolism. It takes creative people, rather than people with a linear thinking, to work through chaos. It takes people with initiative, rather than cowards”.