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, July 12, 2007

The signs of an artist

I believe that who we are to become is evident in our childhoods. Careful observation of any child will lead to an understanding of their special gifts, strengths and passions, their natural inclinations and ways of thinking.

Observation of Fintan, four exactly, points us in several directions but mainly, two: life as an actor and life as an artist.

At the weekend, I took Fintan to see Transformers. At the end of the show, I asked him which transformer he had liked best. Instead of giving me a name, or a description, he did what can only be interpreted to be an infallible sign of an artist. Fintan drew the Transformer in the air, before my eyes. He traced the lines of the one he liked, as I watched.

"Optimus Prime? The big truck Transformer?" I gathered.

He nodded.

This display pleased me. It showed me how Fintan is beginning to think: as an artist does - in terms of lines and structures. Here what is significant is not only what Fintan did - but what he did not do. He did not reach for words, to describe his favourite Transformer; he did not give a name, he did not give a description - his instinct was to draw it, in front of him - to convey the image he had in his mind, directly to me. This shows me that visual thinking predominates in him - but it also shows me that the visual mode is his preferred means of communication.

I think Fintan will one day say much, in silence, with his pencil in his hand, sketching his thought, but not speaking of it. This is the characteristic of a true artist.

(If you would like to learn more of Fintan, four years and no months, or his gifted brothers, Ainan Celeste Cawley, seven years and seven months, and 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 @ 4:29 PM 


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