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 +

Monday, March 05, 2007

Fintan's range of perception: "eagle eyed"

Fintan, three, is a boy who ever manages to surprise. There are, in him, many qualities which are not readily revealed but may only be noted through careful observation. These gifts are in addition to the more obvious ones he possesses.

Yesterday he showed an unusual gift on two occasions.

The first was at a shopping centre. He was on a third floor balcony (and this is quite a distance above the ground, given the depth of each floor)...when he looked over the balcony and pointed downwards and said: "Look at that man moving!".

Syahidah looked and saw a crowd milling below, a crowd of many women and many men, all bustling in many directions at once: hundreds, and hundreds of people. In that confusion, it was difficult to isolate any particular person or thing: there was simply too much going on.

At first, she could not see, therefore, what he meant. He pointed and she followed his arm to see what he might be picking out.

She was stunned to see what he had noted. There, far below, was a mechanical man, less than a foot tall, rocking back and forth on top of a stall. It was not a man he had seen, but a doll barely big enough at that distance to see at all - and certainly not to pick out in all that tumult.

She understood, then, that Fintan had a previously unnoticed gift for interpreting his environment - allied to very sharp eyesight.

Later that day, we were walking alongside a waterway, when we saw a monkey. We watched him climb along fences and up and down trees for some time, until he ran off.

As he did so, Fintan said: "Look, there are two monkeys".

I looked, but could not see the monkeys. I scanned the trees, the fences, the waterway, the buildings all around, but could see no other monkeys. We walked on.

About one hundred metres further on, I saw the monkeys, at last. There were two of them, resting together, on top of a fence, looking down at the pathway.

Somehow, Fintan had been able to see them, amongst all the confusion of the "jungle", and the buildings, fences and waterways, path and foliage, ONE HUNDRED METRES further than I could. That quietly surprised me. I should add that I am not short-sighted. This is not a matter of my having blurred vision - it is a matter of perception, of skill in interpreting the environment and understanding what is there. In that respect, Fintan outclasses both his adult parents. Whether we were better as children is now untestable, but the disparity now, is shockingly marked.

Of what use is this gift in the modern world? He would have made a great stone-age hunter...but now what good can it do? I don't want him to be a soldier - which is the obvious application of such a gift. I want him to have a safer life than that. Any suggestions?

(If you would like to read more of Fintan, or his gifted brothers including Ainan Celeste Cawley, a scientific-child-prodigy, aged seven years and three months, please go to: I also write of gifted education, IQ, intelligence, 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 @ 10:42 AM 


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Search and rescue operations? Crime scene investigator?

I am sure visual acuity and unusual perceptive abilities will benefit Fintan in these and many other fields.

You have said he has social gifts. Maybe the two gifts are related. For example, he may be highly perceptive of people's facial expressions and mannerisms.

11:56 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Thank you for your imaginative suggestions...they do sound rather more appealing than the obvious one.

As for the relationship with picking up on facial expressions - you may be right, there. He is very good at understanding what is going on in a social environment.

I remain open to other suggestions. The gifts he shows are unusual and should have an interesting and purposeful outlet.

Best wishes

12:21 PM  
Blogger Lynn Tan said...

sharped eyed are good for quite a few careers if he loved animals very much he can be a Vet... or doctor?

9:52 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Thank you for the suggestion Lynn...he really does love animals, so we will see.

Best wishes.

10:20 AM  

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