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, January 21, 2008

The imaginative world of a child.

There are many things about fatherhood that fascinate - but one of the greatest is the opportunity to observe - and enter - the imaginative world of a child.

Tiarnan has just had his 2nd birthday (it was yesterday). A week ago, we were visiting a friend's house. The daughter of the house is Fintan's friend.

One of the toys present was a blow up, life-size crocodile. It was green, of course, with white teeth and bulging eyes. It was not life-like to an adult eye.

The larger kids, Fintan and his friend approached the crocodile and sat on it and began to sing: "Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream...if you see a crocodile, don't forget to scream". (They duly screamed).

Tiarnan, seeing that they were quite happy on the crocodile, joined them on its capacious back - and tried to sing along.

A while later, I noted that the crocodile had been moved into the adjacent children's bedroom, where all three kids were now playing. All was well until the elder two left. Tiarnan played happily for a moment or two before he realized that he was alone - well, almost. He started to cry out somewhat nervously, alerting us to his predicament. He was staring at the crocodile blocking the doorway, quite obviously distressed by it. I knew then what had not been clear until that moment: for Tiarnan, the crocodile did not just represent a crocodile - it was a crocodile - with all the dangerous possibilties that one presented.

Syahidah went into the room and rescued him.

Later on, just before we were set to leave, the crocodile had made its way into the living room. Tiarnan was busy drinking a bottle of milk. He noted the crocodile by the tv - and the watchful presence of others - and smiled at it. He approached slowly, holding the bottle of milk out towards it and placed the teat against its teeth, his head nodding in encouragement, urging it to drink. Tiarnan had, it seemed, decided to make friends, with the crocodile. It was very touching to watch. Once he had let the crocodile "drink" for a while, he was much more relaxed around it. No doubt, in his estimation, he had now befriended the two metre beast.

When one reaches a certain age, few adults seem to think in interesting ways. It is probably because their ways are too familiar and too predictable. Children, on the other hand, live in the same world, but see it differently. It is refreshing, therefore, to observe them do, think and feel things, adults simply never would.

(If you would like to learn more of Ainan Celeste Cawley, a scientific child prodigy, aged eight years and one month, or his gifted brothers, Fintan, four years and six months, and Tiarnan, twenty-three months, please go to: I also write of gifted education, IQ, intelligence, the Irish, the Malays, Singapore, 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 @ 11:24 PM 


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