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 +

Friday, May 09, 2008

A socially aware child: interpersonal intelligence

Fintan is a very socially aware child. In being so, he shows a generous degree of interpersonal intelligence. This is the intellectual function proposed as one of the multiple intelligences, by Howard Gardner - its counterpart is intrapersonal intelligence (knowing oneself).

A couple of weeks ago, it was a hot day. Syahidah and Fintan were in the Dempsey Road area of Singapore - which is a sheltered enclave of idiosyncratic shops and restaurants in low-lying buildings. They recall earlier times when Singapore had more space: it is popular with expats, perhaps for that very reason.

Fintan, four, and Syahidah were walking through the area, casting an eye into the shops that they passed. They had already been there some while and it was nearly time to go home. Suddenly, Syahidah said: "Let's go into the organic shop, Fintan."

They did so. Syahidah walked aimlessly around for a while, in its cool interior, then asked a shop assistant: "Do you have kale?"


Syahidah lingered in the shop with Fintan, until finally she left with him.

Fintan, four, was studying his mother very carefully. "Mummy, you didn't want anything in that shop did you? You just wanted to go in because of the aircon."

The funny thing is, he was right. Syahidah had just sought the relief of the aircon against the heat of the sunlit outside. She didn't really intend to buy kale, or anything else for that matter. Somehow, Fintan had divined this.

This is not the only time Fintan has seen through matters to their social truth. He often catches the real meaning of what is happening, to a surprising degree.

I think, of all the different ways a child can be smart, this particular one is among the most useful in the long run. After all, understanding people and their ways has implications for success in all areas of life.

(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 @ 7:36 PM 


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