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, November 05, 2006

An authority on child prodigy

What makes an authority on child prodigy? One who knows one well, would be a good start. Do those who generally write of child prodigy know much of what they speak? From what I have read, of some of these "authorities", I would say not. Many seem never to have met a child prodigy, and those who have seem to have spent little time with them. This is, perhaps, inevitable. Only a parent of a child prodigy would be able to spend much time with a child prodigy. So, only a parent of a child prodigy, would be able to get to know a child prodigy well.

The academics that I have noted, who comment on prodigy, are clearly unaware of what child prodigies are actually like - or how well they can actually think. They seem to be extrapolating from those who are not prodigies at all, and making suppositions, in many cases. I find it alarming that some academics feel able to write, as if they are authorities, on something of which they clearly have no experience.

I know child prodigy well, because I am raising one. I see him daily. I hear him think and I am constantly surprised at the depth of his grasp of obscure and arcane subjects, of the quickness of his comprehension, the speed of his association, the intelligence of his insight. His thinking is not just a question of "more" of what other bright children have: it is something else altogether, something of a different order. Those who write of child prodigy generally don't capture this feeling that comes upon me when I speak with Ainan. Why not? I believe it is because they do not actually know any prodigy well enough to comment. Yet comment they do.

If you want to learn about child prodigy, to witness what a scientific child prodigy is like, these pages are a good place to start. In many cases, the last place to understand prodigy is from the mouths of academics who pronounce upon them. I have spent more hours in the company of a prodigy than they will do in a dozen careers: who then knows prodigy best? A parent of a prodigy, is often the best authority.

(If you would like to read about my scientific child prodigy son, Ainan Celeste Cawley, six, and his gifted brothers, please go to: Thanks.)

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 1:30 PM 


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