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, April 20, 2007

Tiarnan's observation skills

Tiarnan, fourteen months, like Fintan, three, is a very observant child. He sees things other would miss - and finds interest in matters which others would not.

A few days ago, Tiarnan was walking around our house when he suddenly pointed at a blank white wall, and said: "Look at that!", very clearly.

On this invitation, we indeed, "looked at that." He was pointing at two pin pricks in the wall, one above the other. In its white surface they were two little points of darkness. They weren't much to notice, but notice them Tiarnan had from a distance of perhaps four or five feet, when he first pointed them out.

He then told us: "Go there!" That is, we were to look more closely. We did as we were told. To an adult eye, they were probably evidence that something had been pinned to the wall. To Tiarnan they were a mystery worth pointing out, in an otherwise perfect, blank, white wall.

What is interesting about this is that his eye is drawn to imperfection and exception: that which is different is noticed by him.

We then went outside and he did something more revealing of his observation skills. He pointed upwards and about six metres away: "Look at that!" In his line of sight, tucked away near the corner of roof and wall, was a brown moth, lying still on the wall, in the shade.

I hadn't noticed it. It was far too far above my line of sight to do so. Yet, he had - and it was so much more above his line of sight. His gaze captures all. This is very reminiscent of Fintan's visual skill.

He studied the moth with great attention and enthusiasm: he has a definite liking for living things - he gets excited when he sees them - and this is both sweet and encouraging. Sweet because it is - encouraging because it shows that he is a child of passion - and such children always develop into something worthwhile. Their passion makes them so.

Singapore is quite a standardized environment. It is much the same everywhere. But, it seems to me, that for Tiarnan (and probably Fintan) in looking so closely at the world, they will always find something interesting to see. It is the detail that will occupy them.

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 8:49 AM 


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