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 +

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Patrick Swayze's pancreatic cancer.

Patrick Swayze has pancreatic cancer, stage iv. Now, this is probably not news to most of my readers, but I thought his situation worth commenting on, in one aspect.

Patrick Swayze was diagnosed last year with stage iv pancreatic cancer. This is a terminal diagnosis. Only 1% of patients with this degree of disease are alive five years later. Thus, it could be said, that Patrick Swayze is very, very unlikely to survive very long. However, apparently he has already outlasted his doctor's estimate of his longevity by 100% (his doctor had given him six months).

Well, that is Patrick Swayze's health situation. It doesn't look good, but I wish him well. What drew my attention, though, was not that he had cancer but how he was coping with it. Patrick Swayze is doing what I consider to be quite unusual: he is working, as an actor, throughout his treatment. He is playing FBI agent Charlie Barker, in The Beast, a new tv show shooting in Chicago. So, despite having what most doctors would say was a terminal illness, he is working 12 hour days as an actor.

This tells me something special. Whatever one might think about Patrick Swayze's work and life (and I admit I haven't given it much thought), it does say that he is doing what he loves most. Here is a man who is spending what could be his last months, WORKING, as an actor. Think about that. How many of us would spend our last months working at the jobs we presently do. Ask yourself that question: if you had been told by your doctor that you had six months left to live, would YOU spend them at your workplace? Or would you find another way to spend your time?

Many of us would spend that time with our families, tidying up our affairs. Patrick Swayze has chosen to spend this time, perhaps his only time left, working on a TV set. For me, that means that Patrick Swayze must have chosen the perfect life for himself. He must be living what he most deeply wants to do. Otherwise, he would have found another way to spend these months, than at work.

Whether or not Patrick Swayze survives, therefore, there is an example in his life story for us all. Live your live as you would live it if you were dying. In other words, do what is most special to you, what you would choose to spend your last months on, NOW...for these months may very well be your last months. One never knows on such matters.

Patrick Swayze is, no doubt, happy in what he does. He has made the choice to pursue acting despite the prospect of imminent death. That is a sign that however long or short Patrick Swayze's life might be, (he is 55) that he has chosen a good life for himself.

Can we all say the same?

How would you spend your last six months? If the answer is not at work, then that work is not truly you. The work you do does not fully and deeply express who you are. However, if you answered that you would continue working in your present job until you could work no longer, then you are living an ideal life, for you.

I would be interested in people's personal perspectives on this situation. How would you spend your last six months: would you continue doing what you are doing now, or would you change your life utterly?

If you would change it, perhaps that is the life you should now be living anyway.

(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 @ 3:17 PM 


Anonymous Anonymous said...

errm..since i dun work yet, i would like to learn a new thing tht i cant do before, reading books.what's urs,mr cawley?

8:19 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

The funny thing is I would create something, whilst staying with my family and saying what needed to be said. I would basically be at home.

Patrick Swayze is also creating something. The difference is that my created work would likely to be written, rather than performed.

Thanks for your comment.

8:37 PM  
Blogger Shannon said...

I would like to spend the last months of my life living as I live now: parenting, advocating, smiling, reading, singing, and traveling. I have a new appreciation for Patrick Swayze as it is clear that he finds his work worthwhile.

4:40 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Then, Shannon, you are living a good life.

Take care.

8:48 AM  

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