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 +

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Are gifted children offensive?

"Are gifted children too offensive?" These were the search words of a net searcher from Australia, a few days ago. In itself, it was one of the most offensive searches I have seen in a long time.

Australia is a country that has coined a phrase called the "tall poppies syndrome". This expresses the observation that, in certain quarters of the country, it has been traditional to cut down the "tall poppies". That means to attack the gifted among them. I understand that this is not the universal treatment of the gifted in Australia - for there are some programmes that address their needs - but the very fact that a culture actually has a phrase for this phenomenon is not actually a good sign - except of one thing, of course: that the society is open enough about its own nature to actually have labelled the situation. That, at least, is a step forward. In some societies, there is no name for it - but they do it anyway.

Clearly, though, this tendency still exists in Australia - otherwise the searcher above would never have searched as they have.

Let us look at what the searcher is actually saying. They are saying that gifted people offend them. How could this be? How can the possession of merit be, in any way, offensive? Only dark emotions could lead someone to be offended by giftedness. Jealousy, envy, spite and rage - these emotions are the ones that lead someone to be offended by the gifted. The question is which is more beneficial for society: giftedness - or jealousy, envy, spite and rage? Which do we want to encourage? Do we want to encourage the gifted in our society - or do we want to encourage those filled with dark emotions? Only one choice leads to a better world.

We all need to understand what is happening with regards to the gifted - how they are welcomed and how they are not. It is an issue for us all - because a society that enables its most gifted to flourish is a society that will flourish as a whole. Anyone who fails to see that, is unable to see the big picture. It should matter to all of us, if the gifted are not nurtured - for in failing to do so, the society as a whole is being undermined. Societies that do not nurture their gifted will inevitably fail to thrive. That is obvious.

(If you would like to read about Ainan Celeste Cawley, a scientific child prodigy, aged seven years and seven months, or his gifted brothers, Fintan, four years and no months, or Tiarnan seventeen 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 children and gifted adults, in general. Thanks.)

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 12:22 AM 


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