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, May 27, 2008

Equanimity in the face of adversity.

How do young children take what are, to them, hard knocks? When you are small, little disasters can seem like a big deal.

A couple of days ago, Fintan, four, asked me to buy him some M and Ms at the local shop. I duly did so.

As he walked with me, away from the shop, he decided to open the sweet packet, rather than wait until he got home. He tugged hard at it, pinching it between the fingers of both hands. Suddenly, it gave way catastrophically, scattering the chocolate sweets within, all over the ground.

It was what he didn't do that impressed me. He didn't shout out. He didn't cry. He didn't complain. He looked calmly at the multi-coloured array of sweets scattered all around him and said, quietly: "Never mind. I will buy some another day."

He then reached into the torn packet and ate the three remaining sweets, all without any fuss. When he had done so, he started to play a little game with the fallen chocolates - stamping on them, one by one, as he left for home.

I thought his calm response to sudden disappointment most telling of his character. Fintan is not one easily perturbed - he just carries on, doing what he intended to do, no matter what the difficulties that arise. If disappointed, he seems neither to show it nor to feel it. He just tells himself that all will be well, another time.

I felt so proud, in that moment, to see his mature response to an unexpected disappointment. I feel it promises much for his ability to cope with whatever life throws at him, in later years.

The next time I get him chocolates, however, I will open them for him. At least, then, he will get to enjoy them.

(If you would like to learn more of Ainan Celeste Cawley, a scientific child prodigy, aged eight years and five months, or his gifted brothers, Fintan, four years and ten months, and Tiarnan, twenty-seven 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, wunderkind, wonderkind, genio, гений ребенок prodigy, genie, μεγαλοφυία θαύμα παιδιών, bambino, kind, niño, gênio criança, gifted adults and gifted children in general. Thanks.)

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 5:44 PM 


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, very impressed by your child's achievement. May I ask you a question? I understand that the minimum for a person to take O-level in Singapore is 16 years old. How could your son take this exam at such a young age?
Alice Lai

7:16 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Hi Alice. You are right. The Singaporean examining board does not allow candidates under 16. We didn't take through Singapore, but through London. The UK has no age limits on exams.

Kind regards

11:47 AM  

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