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, March 28, 2007

Are you giftist?

I think that "giftist" is a new word I have coined. Why do I coin it and what does it mean?

Well, I have noticed two kinds of reactions to Ainan's achievement. There have been some very positive ones. Ainan has been cheered by his school; greeted in the street with smiles and cries of "Ainan!"; congratulated by almost everyone he has known...and then there is the other type.

There is the neighbour who used to speak to me, whenever he saw me, who now finds his eyes unable to meet mine - and who doesn't reply if spoken to.

There are a few anonymous people - they are always anonymous, aren't they - who write envy filled words, trying to diminish Ainan's achievement and disparage him for it.

It is these latter two types that I call "giftist". There is something in them that loathes those of gift. The strange thing is - and the really sad, sad thing - is that many of these "giftist" people are themselves gifted. The problem is, that they have something in them that doesn't wish to be challenged. No-one is allowed to be as "great" as they are. No-one is also allowed to be gifted. There is a "gifted community board" that is filled with this kind of nonsense. It is an American board and most of the commenters are from that nation - but the hate and envy that sometimes comes off them is shocking to see. They simply will not tolerate anyone of greater gift than themselves. They seek to bring down anyone who is truly gifted.

It is this kind of giftist individual who is most poisonous. They should know better. Their own experiences of intolerance towards them, by some of lesser gift, should have taught them to be more tolerant of those of greater gift - but it hasn't. Somehow, somewhere, they have learned hate and envy. These feelings have become their core - and they vent it at every opportunity.

Giftism should not be allowed. It diminishes the world and makes the path of gifted people a much more difficult one to tread. Yet, the oddest thing is that many of these giftist people are the gifted themselves...or those who appear to be gifted because they are on a gifted board.

I find that fact the most puzzling of all.

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 7:01 AM 


Anonymous Anonymous said...

But I think, good universities that accommodate gifted children may be located in USA.


9:46 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Yes, this is true - and I think it means that Americans are "conflicted" about the issue of giftedness, with some for it and quite a few, it seems, against.

In all, it is not an ideal situation and has many problems.

Best wishes Arief

10:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOL! We Americans are conflicted about almost everything!

Still, I haven't seen any "giftist" comments here on your website--can you point me to an example?

1:22 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

I don't let the "Giftist" comments get posted at all. I have comment moderation: some of them are really they are out there.

This is a family blog and it would not be appropriate to allow any such comment space.

Sorry, but that is the way it has to be...

Take care

1:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe it would help prevent people from being giftist if we didn't use the word gifted. Gifted implies that people who are highly intelligent have been given a 'gift' by a higher power, nature or whatever. It implies that somehow the gifted were chosen. Using a term that more accurately describes the highly intelligent person might help.

3:30 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Interesting comment. I hadn't considered that the term itself, "gifted", might provoke a negative reaction. I don't know the origins of the term, but perhaps it does come from an earlier era where higher powers would have been invoked as an explanation.

I don't think, however, that changing the term would change the reaction - because at the core of the reaction is jealousy - and that would remain whatever you called the "highly intelligent".

It is a pity really...

8:41 AM  

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