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 08, 2006

Socratic questions of a genius

All children ask questions: genius children ask odder questions than others however. One genius child who likes to question is Ainan Celeste Cawley, 6.

He has two types of question: one is that category of query in which he wants to learn of something he doesn't know. Frequently, these questions are either hard to answer, or unanswerable.

The other category of question is the one that he especially likes: the one to which he already knows the answer. In this, he is like Socrates, who used to teach by the asking of questions.

Today he asked: "What do you get if you collide Calcium and Californium in a cyclotron?"

I didn't know and said so.

"Ununoctium.", he revealed, without triumph.

We have a lot of conversations like this: Ainan asking questions to which I don't know the answer - but he does. However, we have many more conversations in which I DO know the answer...perhaps outnumbering the first variety three to one. For that I am thankful.

We all have an idea of what a teacher is and who a student is. But with Ainan it is not so clear. Sometimes I am the teacher, answering the question to which he does not know the answer. But then, quite fact daily...I am the student, and he, my six year old son, is the teacher: telling me things I never learnt in a science education that went all the way to Cambridge.

Now that is something both humbling and heartening. I am glad that it is so. I am glad that my son is a little Socrates - for I was once nicknamed Socrates, too. It seems that the name and the nature are both contagious.

(For more stories of Ainan Celeste Cawley, six, a scientific child prodigy, go to: )

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 11:14 PM 


Anonymous Anonymous said...

ainan will be the next one :)

10:47 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

I hope so, too. That would be good to see...and worth all the striving on his behalf!

2:39 PM  

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