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 +

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Tiarnan's ancestral instinct

A musical compilation CD was playing today, in the background while my wife, Tiarnan and myself were in the room. The songs came from different parts of the world and different traditions. Tiarnan listened as he played.

Suddenly, an Irish tune came on. I am unsure whether Tiarnan (who is half-Irish but has never been to Ireland), had ever heard any Irish music - certainly he has never heard it in my presence before. His reaction was electric. He stopped what he was doing at once and started jumping about, relatively rhythmically. It was as if he was trying to invent the jig, in response to the sound of one.

Throughout the song, he danced his "jig" which, since he had never seen a jig, was not actually one, but definitely the intent to dance was there. His excitement was beautiful to witness. His smile was broad, his movements fast and energized. Truly, the Irish music seemed to have him under its spell.

He danced on until the very last note - and then he stopped. Once the Irish tune ceased, so did his dancing - for the song that followed was not from Ireland. Sweetly, he stood still and clapped the recorded musicians, once they fell silent, applauding their efforts.

This made me wonder about why he danced to such music. It was as if there was in him some ancestral instinct, some recognition of where he had come from and who he was. At least, so the timing of his actions tell. It could, of course, just be that the Irish dance music is naturally energizing and exciting and he picked up on that. However, he did not dance to any non-Irish tune. Furthermore, it is rather poetic to think that he might instinctively recognize his origins in the music - that it might call to something deep within him. Anyone who had seen the way he had danced to it, would wonder too at his connection to the music and the land of Ireland.

It looks like I will have to play him some more Irish dance music. I think we have ourselves a little leprachaun in the house - or half of one, anyway.

(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 seven months, and Tiarnan, two years exactly, 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 @ 9:53 PM 


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