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, September 14, 2007

Tiarnan's emotional responses

We live in Singapore. It is a city-state of modest proportions, but great ambitions. As you might expect, it is getting relatively crowded, being a small island with four and a half million people.

A couple of days ago, we were in a taxi being driven through town, with Tiarnan, nineteen months, in the car. He was sitting with his mother, looking backwards, as the car moved ahead. Suddenly, he pointed out of the window, and grinned toothily- his big smile revealing each of his small front teeth, his nose wrinkling up as it always did when he was most happy.

We looked where he had pointed and saw a big expanse of green: nothing more than that - just a patch of grass and trees, battling for survival in the middle of a spreading city. Looking at the green and looking at his smile, I was immediately struck by how great his response to it was: he was really happy to see a patch of living plant life, clambering up a mound of earth by the roadside.

He has shown a love of nature before, but it is becoming more clear that he really loves nature. Many little children wouldn't even notice the presence of grass and trees - but Tiarnan picks them out as worthy of special notice and smiles, abundantly, at their presence. He actually responds emotionally to nature: seeing it makes him happy.

Given Tiarnan's love of nature and Fintan's love of animals, perhaps we should be living in the countryside, and not a city. Or at least, we should make sure they spend more time amidst grass, trees and four legged friends.

I wonder at the future world they will grow up in. The global trend appears to be towards ever larger cities and ever greater encroachments upon nature. Will there be much less of the type of world our children love, when they become self-determining adults? I hope not. It would be a pity if Tiarnan were not to have something to smile about, everyday.

(If you would like to learn more of Ainan Celeste Cawley, a scientific child prodigy, aged seven years and nine months, or his gifted brothers, Fintan, four years and two months, and Tiarnan, nineteen months, please go to: I also write of gifted education, IQ, intelligence, College, University, Chemistry, Science, genetics, left-handedness, precocity, child prodigy, child genius, baby genius, adult genius, savant, gifted adults and gifted children in general. Thanks.)

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 9:17 AM 


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you considered moving to a more natural area, perhaps to a place more hospitable to home-schoolers?

11:58 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Thank you for your suggestion: it is certainly worth considering, for a number of reasons. We will see.

Best wishes

2:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what is your opinion of March Tian Boedihardjo, 9 year old student in hong kong university? he is one of a kind as well.

btw, is your family of Islamic faith?

8:52 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

March Tian Boedihardjo is, as I understand it, a maths prodigy. This is one of the classic trio of prodigious children types: maths, music and chess - and is, therefore, one that other children have shared in the past.

Much rarer than maths prodigies, by the way, are art prodigies, scientific child prodigies (like Ainan) and dance prodigies (unheard of, basically...the same goes for scientific child prodigies).

I would agree that his facility is unusual - but I know little about him.

I would say that, from his life story, he has been very, very fortunate in his education. He has had one to one tuition in maths and other subjects for the last two years. Few prodigies are lucky enough to receive that. Ainan has not even been given access to a chemistry lab on an ongoing basis. So I would say that Boedihardjo has been much better supported than most prodigies are. I have not heard of a prodigy - whether a maths prodigy - or any other type, receiving better support than March Tian Boedihardjo has. He is also lucky in that the Hong Kong Baptist University accepted him. Many universities close their doors to prodigies of all kinds citing age concerns. The Hong Kong Baptist University has shown itself to be very open minded and supportive. He is fortunate.

So I would say that the tale of March Tian Boedihardjo, 9, is as much a tale of a supportive environment, with great educational opportunities, in place, as it is of great native gift. However, without that native gift, all the rest is worthless.

On balance he is a lucky child. He is the best supported maths prodigy I know of.

I wish that Singapore were as supportive of Ainan as Britain and Hong Kong have been of March Tian Boedihardjo. We are having great difficulty getting Ainan's educational needs met, here.

As for the question about religion - that is something I never ask of anyone else - so I puzzle that you should ask it of us. Religion is a private matter, in my view.

Best wishes to you.

7:10 PM  

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