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 +

Monday, December 24, 2007

The career ambition of a young child

It is a cliche, throughout the Western world that many children want to grow up to be firemen or policemen (or the like). I suppose this is because these figures seem to play such a dramatic role in the tv dramas and stories children are aware of. Such people seem to have interesting, heroic lives and are, of course, in a tv show, or a story in a book, at the centre of the action.

Fintan's ambition, however, is a little different, though it shares one characteristic: his ambition is of someone at the centre of things, too, though in a rather more chaotic way.

We asked Fintan, four, in early December, what he wanted to be when he grew up.

His answer? "Mr. Bean."

I thought that funny and interesting, but the question is why would he wish to be Mr. Bean? It is clear that Mr. Bean is funny...but not intentionally so. It is also clear that Mr. Bean is different from the people around him. Perhaps that is part of the attraction. There is no-one, in real life, like Mr. Bean. Then, again, another thought occurs to me. Perhaps he means to be a performer, like Rowan Atkinson, the real life actor behind Mr. Bean.

It is unclear why he would like to be Mr. Bean, when he grows up. I shall have to ask him.

Note: For those who live in countries that don't receive the Mr. Bean tv shows, Mr. Bean is an idiosyncratic man, who doesn't speak, but interacts with the world in a logical but absurd fashion. His solutions to problems are always just the wrong way to get something done - even though there is reason behind them. (For instance, trying to paint a room quickly by putting an explosive into a pot of paint and letting it off.)

(If you would like to learn more of Ainan Celeste Cawley, a scientific child prodigy, aged eight years and no months, or his gifted brothers, Fintan, four years and five months, and Tiarnan, twenty-two months, please go to: I also write of gifted education, IQ, intelligence, the Irish, the Malays, 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 @ 8:34 AM 


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