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, January 24, 2007

Fintan's sweetness of character

If I had one wish, it would be that everyone in the world could be as sweet natured as Fintan, three, for then it would be a happy world, indeed.

About a week ago, Fintan went to a party, at a school. There he played "educationally" with children of his age, learning some Chinese along the way. That, however, was not what struck me. When it came time to leave, Fintan spotted some sweets, on display and tucked into them, in seeming greed, coming up with a handful: four sweets, in all. He put them in his pocket.

"You can't take so many Fintan!" said his mummy.

He looked at her, with his open, innocent face, and announced: "One is for Abang, mummy, one is for Tiarnan, one is for Daddy and one is for me."

Abang is a term of respect, meaning "Older brother" and refers, of course, to Ainan.

Far from being greedy, Fintan, as is usual with him, had thought of others - and made sure that each of the important sweet eaters in his life, had one sweet, each. What is notable is that none of those he thought of were witness to this - and so he could have quite easily consumed them all, himself, without any of us knowing. But that isn't Fintan's way: his thoughts were for others and what they would enjoy.

Since I became a father, I have become an observer of the behaviour of other people's children, too. Most of my observations come from Singapore. It is much more common among little children, here - and probably elsewhere - to see instinctive selfishness on display - those who think of themselves, alone, appear to be in the majority. It is warming, therefore, to see Fintan's behaviour - for his type of thinking leads to the development of a person who makes a good friend, a good father, a good husband - and a good person, generally. One day, I hope, Fintan will be all three: he is already the first to his brothers and the last, for sure.

(If you would like to read of more tales of Fintan, Tiarnan or Ainan Celeste Cawley, please go to: I also write of education, 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 @ 7:45 PM 


Blogger EbTech said...

Fintan's actions are as much a testament to his advanced mental development as they are to his kindness.

Other young children behave selfishly because they simply don't know any better. Their only concept of morality is a set of rules for avoiding punishment. Have you heard of Kohlberg's six stages of moral developement?

9:40 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

No, EbTech, I am not yet familiar with Kohlberg's work. Thanks for pointing it out to me...I shall seek it out when I have a moment.

Yes. I think Fintan is advanced in certain ways...more so in moral and social terms, than one would expect. He is the most thoughtful child in his chosen actions.

Thanks for your comment.

2:05 PM  

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