Parents often prioritize academic success and athletic achievements for their children, hoping it will secure their admission into top colleges. However, Melissa and Mark Wimmer have a different perspective. According to a report by TODAY, their main goal for their son was not academic excellence but rather socialization.
Their son, Mike, is an exceptional individual at just 14 years old. Hailing from Salisbury, North Carolina, he is a certified child prodigy and a member of Mensa. Remarkably, Mike managed to complete his high school, associate’s, and bachelor’s degrees within three years.
But that’s not all. In addition to his academic accomplishments, Mike has already founded two tech companies and collaborated with Atlantic Lionshare, an organization dedicated to managing the lionfish population, an invasive species.
What sets Mike apart is his extroverted nature. Even at the age of 11, he won homecoming court for his high school sophomore class. Mike has a diverse social circle that includes childhood friends, college classmates in their twenties from Carolina University, and adult co-workers.
Considering his status as a child prodigy, people often expect Mike to exhibit introverted traits like the character “Young Sheldon” from the television show. However, Melissa, Mike’s mother, revealed to CNBC that those expectations quickly dissipate once they engage in conversation with him. As his mother put it, “he’s just a normal 14-year-old that happens to be able to do amazing things.”
Melissa and Mark take pride in nurturing not only Mike’s intellectual abilities but also his social skills. They emphasize the importance of allowing children to be themselves and providing unwavering support. They stress the need for constant attentiveness to their children’s growth and individual needs.
The Wimmers became aware of their child’s exceptional intelligence when he started attending preschool. A child psychologist informed them that Mike’s IQ exceeded the scale, requiring a specialized curriculum to cater to his accelerated development.
Here we go again! pic.twitter.com/PnPiYEHx3s— Mike Wimmer (@Mike_aighost) May 5, 2023
While many parents might hesitate to expose their children to older peers, Melissa and Mark recognized the value in allowing Mike to interact with them. Melissa explained, “I wanted him to be able to be social and be able to handle all the different personalities in the classrooms with older children.” She further added that while they didn’t push him academically, they placed great importance on his social skills, leaving no room for negotiation.
Thanks to the Wimmers’ guidance, Mike has mastered the art of interacting with individuals of various age groups. He adapts his conversations to suit his peers’ interests, discussing topics like car racing with friends his age and engaging in technical discussions about artificial intelligence and machine learning systems with adult co-workers. Mike shared his approach, saying, “I always let the person set the tone. I gauge the person, in a sense, and then go from there.”
Join me in congratulating #AI wonder kid @Mike_aighost as he graduates Rowan-Cabarrus Community College today at 12yrs old. We loved having Mike on our More Intelligent Tomorrow podcast; you can check out his episode here: https://t.co/hst2mVkxNW pic.twitter.com/D0ghKa88J3— Dan Wright (@danwrightSF) May 21, 2021
Melissa and Mark credit their success in cultivating Mike’s social skills to allowing him to find his own voice and encouraging him to use it. Melissa explained, “We decided that we would just put him in social situations and try to encourage him to engage with everyone else and just be more comfortable talking to others outside of our environment. Being able to communicate was a biggie.”
Consequently, Mike developed comfort outside his comfort zone at a young age. Melissa shared that other parents often ask how they achieved this level of socialization. She revealed that it involved exposing Mike to various situations, such as allowing him to order food from a waiter or waitress at the age of 3 or 4 and encouraging him to introduce himself to new people. These experiences helped Mike develop a natural ease when conversing with others.