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 +

Friday, January 12, 2007

Old age in the eyes of one young

Tiarnan knows what old age is - yet he is only eleven months old.

We have a puppet from the former Czech Republic, in the form of a "wizard". It looks a rather Gandalf-like figure, with a long grey beard and long grey hair.

Recently, Tiarnan looked at this puppet, on the wall, and said: "Atto". Now, this is the Malay word for grandfather - and is the term used to describe his own grandfather, on his mother's side, rather than a name. His grandfather does not have long grey hair - he has short hair, much of which is still dark, with quite a few streaks of silver. Nor does he have a long, grey beard - in fact, he is clean shaven and neatly presented. Furthermore, the puppet is Caucasian in appearance and Atto is Malay, so physically they are quite different. Yet, it was clear from his remark that Tiarnan saw "atto-like" qualities in the puppet. He had recognized that both his grandfather and the puppet looked old (at least compared to him, I suppose - since his grandfathers - both - are in pretty good condition!)

This is one of the qualities that Tiarnan shows already in his thinking: recognizing similarity and commonality - and being able to categorize a new phenomenon alongside others already known. I think it is an important thinking skill in coming to understand how the world is, what it is and how it works.

I wonder what I look like to him?

(If you would like to read more of Tiarnan or his gifted brothers, Ainan Celeste Cawley, a scientific child prodigy, aged seven years and two months, and Fintan, three, please go to: I also write of gifted education, intelligence, IQ, child prodigy, child genius, adult genius, baby genius, savant, the creatively gifted, gifted adults and gifted children, in general. Thanks.)

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 1:53 PM 


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