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 +

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The value of kindness

In the past couple of days, I have learnt a valuable lesson. There are many attributes of a person which I have previously valued, highly, including creativity, intelligence, persistence, honesty, open-ness, fairness and so on, but one, it is now clear to me, is of greater importance than all of these: kindness.

So important is kindness that I would say I would rather a child who was kind than a child who was bright, for, in being kind, they will bring greater happiness to the world and a greater civility to society at large. Their very nature would make the world a better place to live in.

Why is the subject of kindness on my mind? Well, I refer you to the post before regarding a message board that posted doubts about my reality, followed by further posts many of which, at first, were distinctly hostile, others very unkind. In time, kinder voices joined in and mellowed the discussion a bit - but the damage had been done. It was rather like walking into a room and suddenly been set upon by a gang. I was shocked, hurt and upset to be treated so by a "gifted community support group". It was this experience that led me to understand that kindness is a more important attribute than intelligence. Given that the board is devoted to those of extreme gift, many of the posters would, I assume be gifted. However, that did not make them kind to their fellow humans.

So, if you see unkindness in your children, stamp it out before it grows. The greatest attribute they could bring to the world, as contributing adults, is the kindness of their hearts: there is clearly not enough of it in the world.

I would like to thank the kinder voices on that board for being more humane than the others - and for being closer to what one expects a good person to be. As for those who were unkind, I can only hope that life will teach them to be gentler to their fellows, in time. It is vital for our world that kindness be one's natural instinct - rather than instant suspicion, allegation and abrasive attack.

So, here's hoping for a kinder world! Have a good day all.

(If you would like to read about my scientific child prodigy son, Ainan Celeste Cawley, seven years and three plus weeks, and 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. Thanks.)

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 1:03 PM 


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting that I happened across this... And so soon after it was written! I am a moderator for a gifted message board - probably not the one that you visited. (I was doing some research to find out exactly how strange or normal it is for a kid to be running at 9 months, as I did, and I came across an article about your son).

Anyhow, I thought I'd invite you to the board I frequent. Its called "Supporting the Emotional Needs of the Gifted" or SENG for short. Destructive criticism is not tolerated. That is clearly stated in the guidelines, and if we end up with a troublesome person, I will take care of the problem quickly, myself (or one of the other moderators or members will do something).

There are a lot of parents on there, who post questions and answers regarding raising their gifted kids.

There are also lots of gifted adults chatting about everything from existential/philosophical dilemas to personal problems to psychology questions to jokes to... you name it. We even have a thread specifically for the profoundly gifted to find eachother on.

Merry Christmas

6:05 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Thanks very much for the tip.

Yes, you are right, the board in question was not your board. I will visit your board and have a look.

Firstly, I would like to say that it is very unusual to have a child running at nine months (mine was running at eight months and no-one in our acquaintance had ever seen or heard the like), because the stability/balance skills required are rather demanding for a child of that age. So you have a marvellous child there.

I am glad you have control over what happens on your board. The board that savaged me did so in so many ways that I dare not describe them. They also broke quite a few actual laws (several civil and one criminal) in doing so: an utterly unruly place.

Your role, as moderator is, I think, critical in preserving the atmosphere and civility of a message board - and I am glad to make your acquaintance. Being open to the world, as a message board is, (and a blog for that matter) it will reach all sorts of people, including those who have real issues with their fellow citizens of the world - the sort of issues which them a real problem for others. It is good to know that you have a handle on it.

I post this here so that others might find your resource of use, too.

A merry christmas to you personally and to your board, too.

11:57 AM  

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