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 +

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Are children image conscious?

How image conscious are children? How influenced are they by the world of gloss and advertising, image and image-making?

I wonder at this because of something Fintan, three, said, over three months ago. He saw a rather plain, non-descript Chinese woman of no particular age and no particular allure, getting into a shiny, jet black, flashy sports car.

He pointed across at her and said: "Look at that woman, so funny…so pretty."

She may have been funny, in her own way, but she was definitely not pretty. Fintan, three, had had his perception overwhelmed, it seems, by the glossy item of the shiny black car. The woman had, in his eyes, become "pretty" by association with a beautiful car.

It is funny to think on it - but does this work with adults, too? Does a shiny, flashy, expensive sports car make someone more attractive? Is there a prettiness by association? If anyone should research the matter, they should credit me, here, for asking the question.

Fintan is only three, but already he has proven that the world of image-making has a hold over him. His reaction shows that it is possible to create quite a strong reaction in a young child, just by the gloss of an image deployed.

An unattractive woman became "pretty", by the simple expedient of buying an exotic car.

That should give people something to think about. It might even influence their car-buying decisions!

Perhaps that is why young men like to drive sports cars around. Perhaps they are not hunks after all - but plain joes, whose cars make them look good.

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

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 5:43 PM 


Blogger Biby Cletus said...

Cool blog, i just randomly surfed in, but it sure was worth my time, will be back

Deep Regards from the other side of the Moon

Biby Cletus

5:53 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Thank you Biby for your kind appreciation...and as for "cool" about your name, that's pretty cool!

Glad you enjoyed the blog.

Best wishes

5:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Consider another possibility for why a 3 year old would call a woman "pretty" even though you consider the car a lot more attractive than her.

Perhaps it is not that he has absorbed media's message of "flashy car"="attractive". Perhaps it is that he has NOT yet absorbed the media's (or your) message of what constitutes "pretty woman". You are, after all, using your own perception of "pretty woman" (which is colored by 30+ years of media exposure) as though it was objective. Which makes a 3 year old seem "incorrect" for calling a certain woman pretty- and so you assume that the flashy car is part of what is making her pretty in his eyes. But maybe he's just being more objective than you simply because he has had so little exposure to either media or the prevailing culture's idea of "pretty" and has also not yet experienced puberty which puts a certain spin on what is considered attractive.

9:29 PM  
Anonymous TUG said...

Hi Valentine,
Reading this entry, I can't help thinking that the woman in question might actually be in line with Fintan's current idea of beauty .

I remember a nephew of mine, at the age of about 3 being obsessed with Lucy Liu because he gushed that she's the most beautiful creature on the planet. (interesting to note that, my nephew is not of Chinese descent,butlike eurasian Fintan)

I reminded him about this a few years later and he emphaticallay denied ever finding her pretty because by then his idea of beauty is based on the western ideals of large eyes and prominent nose, etc.


1:28 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Dear Anonymous

You raise some interesting points. Let me address them.

Firstly, my own view of pretty does not correspond to the media's view - it is my own. So too is my wife's. Neither of us considers the media's standard type as pretty.

Secondly, perhaps I should have pointed out that it was my wife who witnessed Fintan's reaction and not myself: I wasn't present - so the comparative view of beauty/plain-ness was not coloured by sexuality or puberty, but was one woman's judgement on another.

However, it is true that Fintan has not had time to accumulate too much societal influence and may be responding to his own views more, therefore. It is impossible to determine. All we can say is that my wife disagreed with him.

An interesting post, thanks.

7:46 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Hi Tug

Perhaps, indeed, Fintan saw something that my adult wife is no longer able to see. Who knows why he thought she was pretty? We thought it was a good bet that the car was involved considering how plain - and plainly dressed in a polo shirt - she was.

It is good to hear from you again.

Best wishes

7:48 PM  

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