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 +

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

The weight of school books.

Today, I met Ainan, after a school golf lesson that never was. (The bus was cancelled, at the last minute, leaving the children idling, for a few hours, until their parents came.)

He seemed quite patient about it all. He had got so used to waiting that it took him a second or two before he acknowledged my existence by starting to rise from his chair in the office. It was as if he wasn't sure I had really arrived: was I just a mirage of expectation?

Anyway, he hefted his bag over one shoulder, at which I noted its seeming inertia and then he proceeded to attempt to put the other strap on the other shoulder.

"I'll take that." I indicated the bag.

He looked doubtful. "It's heavy.", he said, in warning.

I thought this sweet, funny and sad. It was sweet that he should think of his Dad carrying such a "heavy" weight, funny that he should think it would be heavy for me and sad that he should be so burdened, with such a mass in the first place.

"It won't be heavy for me." I assured him, sure of myself.

I grasped it in one hand and noted something surprising: it truly was heavy - even for me. I heaved it over my shoulder, finally understanding that he meant heavy not only in a relative sense (because he is so slight) but heavy in an absolute sense (because it was heavy enough to irritate me).

I don't know how he manages to carry such a heavy bag day in, day out. It really is too much. I found myself switching it from shoulder to shoulder every ten or fifteen minutes as we walked about the shops later.

There has to be a better way than this - and there is. Why can't there be lockers for every student so that they can leave most of their books at school? It would be a simple matter and would require only that the school invest in them. As far as I know, there are no such lockers. At least, Ainan has never mentioned them to me and he doesn't appear to use one.

Were individual lockers to be available for all then most books could be left at school each day and only those required for home that evening need be taken home. It would certainly make for a lighter load.

I rather hope my suggestion is taken up on a nationwide basis. It is time to give the children rather less to carry. No doubt it would prevent a lot of long-term health issues too. Carrying such heavy weights doesn't seem like a good idea for such slight bodies.

(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 @ 11:22 PM 


Blogger Just Jen said...

You don't have lockers there? How strange! Every school here has lockers. JK and SK have 'cubbys' or long shelves designated for each child with hooks to hang their backpacks and coats and grades 1 on, have lockers. They still have too much to carry in their backpacks though due to overwhelming amounts of homework Canada is heaping on the children to try and make them 'smarter' in comparison to other countries. I guess that's another topic though!

10:55 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Well, Ainan has never made mention of lockers and I have never seen them in the school...furthermore, he clearly doesn't use one. He carries every school book he has about with him, everywhere: it is quite a load.

So Canadian schools push too much onto the children too - that is a very familiar situation in Singapore that is always striving to get more out of its school children. (In many opinions, they over do it.)

Best wishes to you in Canada.

4:39 PM  
Anonymous Shaza said...

Hi there, I was like Ainan at his age; carrying every school books to school. BTW, I'm in Malaysia. You know, we didn't have any lockers available for the students, unlike in the US. I'm not sure if we do have now.

When I was in primary school, there was a teacher who suggested that the student to bring only book that will be thought on that day only. Say on Monday, you'll have Math, Sciene and English classes. So you just bring Math, Science and English books to the shcool on Monday. That will help a lot. Well, it helped me a lot last time.

Or if you have no choice other than to bring every single book, why don't you get Ainan a rolling backpack. Somthing like:
I would say most of students (primary students especially) in Malaysia nowdays, are bringing that to school.

Hope this help :)

9:33 PM  

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