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The boy who knew too much: a child prodigy

This is the true story of scientific child prodigy, and former baby genius, Ainan Celeste Cawley, written by his father. It is the true story, too, of his gifted brothers and of all the Cawley family. I write also of child prodigy and genius in general: what it is, and how it is so often neglected in the modern world. As a society, we so often fail those we should most hope to see succeed: our gifted children and the gifted adults they become. Site Copyright: Valentine Cawley, 2006 +

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Here's...Daddy! (in Singapore)


Singapore is not known for its coolness and here you can see me sweating a little under the incessant heat.

I am Valentine Cawley, father of Ainan Celeste Cawley, 6, a scientific child prodigy - and his two brothers, Fintan Nadym Cawley, 3, and Tiarnan Hasyl Cawley, 8 months. If you have wondered about my name, it is because of my date of birth: the 14th of February. I was born in London, of Irish parents and grew up in Ireland and England: two more contrasting worlds could not be imagined, in ways too many to describe in a sentence or two.

I went to school in London - I shan't name it as yet, since the experience was not a happy one. If one word were to characterize the place it would be "hostile." After that, I spent three years at Cambridge trying to find a teacher who wanted to teach. I found only one. If I were to choose one word to characterize that University, I would say: "neglectful."

My life has been varied and I have worked as a Government Physicist, at 17, an Arts magazine editor and founder, at 22, an event promoter, an actor, a writer of two books (well, three, if you count one presently unfinished), a teacher and many other jobs in between. I have also been interviewed on CNN, by Richard Blystone, for my performance art piece, "Lord Valentine the Misplaced." I was covered by Reuters, too. The piece was global news, appearing in newspapers and magazines, too. For a while, thereafter, I found myself recognized in places such as London and New York. It was a strange experience - but more of that, one day.

If asked what was my most satisfying creative work, I would have to say my first book - for no modern book is as ambitious as it, nor as complete. It is as long as War and Peace, but altogether different from it. I hope to see it one day on a shelf other than my own - many of them. We will see.

(For an overview of the site and an introduction to my son, Ainan Celeste Cawley, six, a scientific child prodigy, and his gifted brothers, please go to:
http://scientific-child-prodigy.blogspot.com/2006/10/scientific-child-prodigy-guide.html )

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 1:49 AM 

11 Comments:

OpenID okkar said...

happened to read the blog since the url was emailed to me.

here's a toast to the dad who fights hard for the best of his boys!

11:44 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Thank you for your kind words. Yes, it is a fight, sometimes, but it is worth it, too...after all, if their parents don't fight for them, who will?

Cheers

11:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a PhD student in Brain & Cognitive Sciences and many of the claims you make here... just aren't plausible. I thought you should know it's obvious to a third-year graduate student. A picture of your son with chalk in his hand... is not empirical evidence of anything. I don't understand your purpose.

12:32 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

In my experience, having a PhD does not make someone either informed, or intelligent...and you are busily proving my observation.

Everything I have written is true. That is a simple fact. If you have issues with it, it is quite clear that you know NOTHING about prodigies or about what a very small minority of children are capable of.

I expect you have a very dull, uninspired, unimaginative career ahead of you - because you are already showing all those qualities in your remark.

There is empirical evidence of all that I have said. It will be duly presented in the proper channels at the proper times. In the meantime, I suggest you find an area for which you have greater feel than the cognitive sciences.

12:53 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Re. the PhD student.

Just because you don't believe something, that doesn't make it obvious...it is just something that comes from your own experience (limited) and state of mind (narrow).

I have no interest in convincing you, however, of what I know to be true. That would seem to be a big waste of time.

If you don't believe what I write, so be it - it doesn't change the truth of anything here at all.

12:55 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

It is, by the way, a self-evident truth that not very bright people, who think they are bright, have great difficulty conceiving of anything or anyone greater than themselves. PhD student's disbelief is a fine example of this.

1:04 PM  
Blogger Syahidah and Valentine said...

PhD Student is also revealing a rather paranoid disposition. Firstly, he makes explicit that he thinks I am lying (without any evidence that this is so), then he thinks that I have a hidden purpose for doing so.

Both thoughts are characteristic of paranoid individuals.

7:38 PM  
Blogger V3gas said...

Dude, Valentine; relax. You made, what, four responses to a comment. Seems like you feel that you really have to explain yourself. Also, that condescending tone there ("PhD Student is also revealing a rather paranoid disposition.) and talking in third person makes you seem arrogant. Just saying.

Anyway, I have read several of your posts here, and I find it very interesting! I stumbled upon Ainan in a list of child prodigies on Wikipedia, and have been reading a lot about child prodigies lately. I do believe that Ainan is a child prodigy, but you boast a lot. Of yourselves and your children. But maybe that is just the Scandinavian Jante Law (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jante_Law) talking.

(And yes, I am a bit jealous of Ainan's skills!)

2:53 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

V3gas,

I had to answer him (or her) because of the measure of ignorance, evident in their written thought. I couldn't let it go without comment.

Anyway, thanks for introducing me to Jante Law. I had no idea this existed. Now that I do, I find it rather worrying for what life must be like in Scandinavia for anyone who is innately exceptional in anyway. It sounds like it would be a very difficult place to grow up. Then, again, I was exposed to similar forces in my school, when I was a child...but I wouldn't want my children so treated.

What are your thoughts on Jante Law?

1:33 PM  
Blogger Rose4339 said...

Hi Mr and Mrs Cawley

I love reading about your family and very special children...fascinating I think. For the record..I do not feel you are boasting at all. I feel you are seriously trying to get a message out that these kind of children exist and need special education. Here is the deal.... THEY do not want educated people THEY want sheep. I live in US, suppose to be this greatest country in the world and the education system is one of the poorest..(check it out). There is a very calculated dark reason for this and that's all I will say about it.
Keep doing the best for your kids.

Thanks for the posts ..I like to follow their progress. What you said about the nay-sayers is true. Just brush them off like dust in the wind.

Sincerely,
Rose H
From the land of the not so free

6:07 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Thank you Rose,for your kind words about my family. Yes. I am trying to do my best by them, though there are always challenges.

I do think my efforts are misunderstood by some. I do not mean to boast, only to inform and make a record of what I see and understand, whilst it is happening. It is important to do this, for posterity and for my children to know themselves better, when they grow up.

It is good to hear that you enjoy my writing. Thank you for letting me know.

Yes. Many people express concern about American education. It is shortsighted of any nation to sabotage the minds of their children. Such a nation can only be on the decline. America will find this out one day.

Best wishes to you.

10:46 PM  

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