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, November 09, 2008

The influence of school on children.

School has many and various influences on children, quite obviously. Some of those influences are quite unexpected.

A couple of days ago, Fintan was looking a bit downcast.

He approached his mother.

"What can I do to make lots of money?" He began, intensely. "What am I GOOD at?", he inquired, emphatically.

Syahidah was quite startled to see the weight of the world on her son's shoulders so. It seemed that he had been listening to the talk of his fellow students in kindergarten - and their topic of conversation had been money and its making - at least, that is the only way we can think of, to explain his sudden interest in the issue of money, when he is just five years old.

It is very telling that the values of the society that we live in - Singapore - are imparted to the children, so young. It shocks me somewhat that at just five years old, Fintan should already have picked up on the Singaporean obsession with making as much money as possible. It seemed out-of-place on his tongue - most disconcerting, in fact, to hear him say such a thing. A child should not be concerned about the world of finance: that should be a distant matter that they will grow into as adults. Unfortunately, in Singapore, money appears to be something spoken of in kindergarten, as the little kids echo their parents' conversations and concerns.

I find it most odd, however.

(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.

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 10:04 PM 


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bankers, who increasingly contribute little to the progress of Mankind, is paid much much better than engineers.

And we live in an increasing materialistic world. And egoistic. And Pride ... must earn more than the next millionaire\billionaire\zillionaire.

I think it also expains your previous post.


5:53 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

The world is as you describe, No Name. What shocked me, however, was that the influence of this Singaporean money obsession should have reached into my son's KINDERGARTEN! This is scary stuff.

Best wishes.

6:00 PM  
Blogger thoughtfulape said...

Being driven to make large amounts of money in order to live a life of comfort and elegance is a perfectly legitimate goal. What I think is sad is when people (and societies) behave as if it were the ONLY goal worth striving for, that people hwho have different priorities and values are wrong by definition. 'What do you want out of life?' is an essentially private question with thousands of different answers all of which may be perfectly valid for the person concerned. I think that what I object to is not materialism per se but the demand that everyone else conform to the same beliefs.

Is a youth spent backpacking in India and Thailand more or less valid than youth spent at an investment bank working your way up the corporate ladder? The answer will always depend on the individual and their priorities. There are tradeoffs involved in either case. To label one successful than the other not is ignoring the fact that people have differing motivations and temperaments.

7:03 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Yes, Thoughtfulape...however the question here is whether it is right for kindergarten students to start obsessing about money, because their friends are (because their parents are...)? It is a bit sad, that their life options should start narrowing down at four or five years old. It is shocking really.

Also, I think that if someone's sole goal in life is to amass money that they are likely to overlook much that is worthwhile in life. In the end, they may lose more than they gain.

Best wishes

8:06 PM  

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