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, December 03, 2006

Diamonds and dolomite, the mineral collector

Today, we were at a wedding, but Ainan was most upset. He clutched, in his hand, a brown jewel pouch, in which he kept stones, precious to him, if not to others. He had lost one, and he grieved for it, at the dinner table, surrounded by gaudily dressed wedding guests, festooned in finery and jewelry, emeralds, rubies and diamonds, gold, silver and platinum - and no doubt a fair share of faux diamonds: zirconia and the like. (One never can tell at a casual least not for the amateur eye).

At weddings of this kind, everything and everyone sparkles - but there was one sparkle missing. Ainan had lost a rock, a stone, a bright, polished sample of a mineral.

He was inconsolable. What had he lost? Well, if measured in carats it was probably about 300 carats. One of the world's biggest diamonds perhaps? The delicately acquired product of a South African diamond mining operation? Not quite. Ainan had lost his dolomite: a light green shiny stone, of no great worth, but huge in sentiment for him.

In his bag were samples of various minerals that he had gathered together: quartz, jostled against agate, and amethyst, and many other loose stones of which I do not know the names. One among them had gone: the only green stone - dolomite.

This fledgling geological collection of Ainan's reflects an earlier interest in geology which first surfaced when he was eight months. At that age, he had a collection of aesthetically chosen loose stones, and shells, which he would study in absorbed silence. He had collected these loose stones himself, in his wanderings, since he had learnt to walk two months previously. Thus, Ainan's return to this interest in geology and mineralogy is a return to an old interest - if it is proper to speak of an old interest in a seven year old.

They are not just rocks, to him, but precious stones, each alive with a vivid power in his mind: he knows what they are made of, where they come from...many things that most people never know.

Again, I do not know what will be made of this island of professional interest in the years ahead. Does it signal a geologist to come?

We will see. Minerals are but one of his many scientific interests. One thing that was revealed today, by his reaction, is just how important these things are to him.

Children have many interests - but for Ainan Celeste Cawley, my scientific child prodigy son, Science is the centre of his focus: it is that which brings him joy.

I suppose I will have to go and find some dolomite, now.

(If you would like to read more about my scientific child prodigy son, Ainan Celeste Cawley, aged seven years and one week, or his gifted brothers, please go to: I also write of child prodigy, child genius, adult genius, savant, the creatively gifted, gifted adults and gifted children in general.)

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 5:38 PM 


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