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 +

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The kindness of a stranger.

We live in a world in which strangers are too rarely kind, and too often not. However it does happen, at times, that a stranger surprises with their generosity of spirit.

A few days ago, I got caught in the rain. This is a common enough occurrence in ever damp Singapore, but I am accustomed to not carrying an umbrella for I find it inconvenient to do so. Thus, like many, I go out hoping for the best, with regards to the weather, but occasionally suffering from its whimsy.

As the rain began to patter on my hair and shoulders, I walked hurriedly to a pedestrian crossing in Orchard Road, on my way to a bus. I rather thought a deluge would soon be upon me.

Suddenly, a man spoke to my right. "Here you are. There is room enough for another.", he said, warmly, a smile on his middle aged Chinese face.

Above my head, he had placed his umbrella so that it shaded both of us. The rain fell harmlessly to my left, missing me altogether.

"Thank you," I said, more than surprised, "That is kind of you."

"Why not, when it is big enough for two.", he replied, modestly.

We stood then, in silence, for awhile, until the lights changed colour. Then we crossed, my benefactor keeping time with me, so that the umbrella shielded me.

"Where are you going?", he asked, his voice proposing, by its tone, that he would try to accommodate me.

"Just to the bus stop.", I said, nodding in its vague direction.

He nodded.

He walked with me then, all the way to a sheltering building near my bus stop, before he turned to leave on his own way.

"Thanks." I said, not knowing of better words for his unexpected kindness.

He just shrugged and smiled, perhaps pleased to have helped another, without being bidden to do so. Then he strode off, with geniality in his step.

I must say that this is the first time this has happened to me, in Singapore. Yet, it was a welcome moment for it shows that, while many here can be uncivil, at times, there are others who possess surprising warmth of character and who go out of their way to help others, in whatever way they can. My unnamed benefactor spontaneously thought of others and reached out to help another, out of some inner warmth, I presume.

So, to the stranger with the umbrella: thanks not only for the umbrella, but for the character that led you to offer it, to a stranger.

Wouldn't it be good if everyone was like him? It would make this clean city the most pleasant of places to live - and all it would take is a smile and an offer of a helping hand whenever one was needed. If one man can do it, everyone can - and perhaps should.

Bless him.

(If you would like to learn more of Ainan Celeste Cawley, a scientific child prodigy, aged eight years and seven months, or his gifted brothers, Fintan, five years exactly, and Tiarnan, twenty-eight 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.

We are the founders of Genghis Can, a copywriting, editing and proofreading agency, that handles all kinds of work, including technical and scientific material. If you need such services, or know someone who does, please go to: Thanks.)

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 10:48 PM 


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pay it forward :)

7:20 AM  
Blogger Miao said...

That is really sweet. :) I sure hope more people will see him as an example we should all strive towards.

12:27 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Yes, indeed, Miao, and my anonymous commenter...his is a great example to all of us on how to be better citizens.

9:35 PM  

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