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 +

Monday, October 30, 2006

Internet google search and discrimination

Searching the internet, one finds all sorts of unusual, precious and bizarre information. The truth is truly out there - and a lot of other stuff that has no category at all. However, have you ever wondered who does all these internet searches and why they are searching the internet?

I was left to wonder, today, at one internet searcher. Someone from Korea found my page. "That's nice.", I thought, "The third person from Korea in as many days." Then I noted something odd, but not funny. What search term do you think they had used to find my site? Think about what it could be. They had used a google search and their search terms were: "Child". That's OK...perfectly reasonable considering the site content. Their next search term was "Prodigy". That, too, was fine. Spot on, in fact. But what do you think their last qualifying term was? Just think about it for a minute or two, then read on.

The final qualifying term was "Dangerous". That really gave me the creeps. Someone in Korea either considers prodigies dangerous - or wants to find one who is. Either view is a massive distortion of the truth. A prodigy cannot be dangerous. A child prodigy is a child. Just that. A child who thinks at the level of an adult in an adult domain - but still just a child. A prodigy is both wonderfully gifted - and a wonderful gift to Man. From a prodigy, properly raised, given opportunities to express themselves, many wonderful things can come. Some of the greatest geniuses in History began life as child prodigies. There is nothing dangerous about genius or is the highest expression and development of the human mind - and on such minds our civilization rests. Yet, someone, in Korea, thinks of prodigies in a very dark way - thinks of them in terms of danger. The real danger here, I think, is in not understanding that a prodigy is no more, and no less, than a human being with a heightened mental ability. Such a gift is not to be feared, but admired - and in no way relates to the idea of danger, at all. The level of discrimination inherent in the notion that a child is dangerous is shuddering. Such discrimination must always be opposed, wherever it is found.

Since I began this blog, that single search has given me more pause than anything else. Are child prodigies really so misunderstood that someone could search for one in that way? If so, I have even more reason to blog than I did before. Such misconceptions, misperceptions and misunderstandings must not be allowed to thrive. If they are, those misunderstandings, themselves, become dangerous - to prodigies, geniuses and the gifted everywhere. Erroneous views of who gifted people are and what they are like, must not be allowed to thrive - for therein lies much danger to gifted people everywhere - and, since civilization depends on the lifetime output of gifted people, to society itself. Whoever you are, in Korea - relax. If you meet a prodigy, say "Hi" but do not expect them to be dangerous - anymore than a typical six year old is. Nor, too, should you even think of a discriminating thought, but accept them as they are: a prodigy child.

(If you would like to read about Ainan Celeste Cawley, six, a scientific child prodigy, go to: )

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 8:24 PM 


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hear your unspoken wish to be understood, shared by all gifted and prodigies; they want to belong and they cannot.

11:53 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

You are right. To be apart, is the common experience of most of the more gifted people. It is an insoluble problem.

Thanks for your insight.

9:23 PM  
Blogger Vinay said...

can I please know how you came to find what search words this Korean you speak of typed?

11:03 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Dear Vinay,

I see you are unfamiliar with just how much information is stored about everything you do on the internet. I receive a report of everything that is typed to reach my website because my site is metered: the data include the IP address of the person, what they typed, what browser they are using, their location, including town...etc. etc. It is all there, for immediate access. It is not just need to have a site meter.

No doubt Google knows everything that you do. Isn't that a thought?

Best wishes on the internet.

11:39 PM  
Blogger Vinay said...

sorry for my ignorance of the fact.anyway i have been wondering if a a high IQ is the only measure of giftedness.can the gifted possess low IQs?and how about academic performance>does a low academic performance mean a person is not gifted?

7:31 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Hi Vinay,

The official definition of "gifted" is an IQ of 130 or more. However, there are other types of gift that don't depend on IQ - such as musical ability, athletic ability, artistic ability and so on. It is quite possible to be gifted in these and other areas and not have a high IQ.

In school terms, however, a high IQ would normally be required. I should add that in some academic systems, IQ is not used, but academic performance is. In these systems, kids who don't have a high IQ but who WORK HARD, could be accepted onto "gifted" programmes.

It is quite possible to be gifted and not do well in school. Many gifted chldren are BORED by school and underperform as a result. So, doing badly in school, does not exclude the possibility of high intelligence in a child. Some children do badly owing to low IQ...others have high IQs but are bored by the low level of challenge and so do badly in school tasks.

I hope that helps you Vinay.

7:47 PM  

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