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, March 01, 2009

The privilege of longevity.

My longest lived relative passed away yesterday. She was 104 years old. Her passing, oddly, came as a surprise, since I had gotten used to her seemingly eternal durability. As others passed on, around her, she endured, as if immovable.

I didn't see her often since she lived far away, but I have an indelible memory of her, when she was in her eighties. She was attending a mutual relative's wedding and was most active on the dancefloor. She was incredibly joyous - that is the image that stuck with me, a vibrant, happy woman living a full life at a time when others are winding down, or dead.

This is not the place to go into much detail about her life - but it was both long and full, as far as I know. My condolences to her immediate family, if they stumble on my words.

As I took in the news of her passing, and her long life, my thoughts turned to two contrasting lives. When I was at school, there were two very pleasant boys there. I remark on their pleasantness because, frankly, it was unusual that the boys should be pleasant, since so many there were not. It was a school that specialized in unfriendly behaviour.

Well, these two pleasant boys each shared an unpleasant fate. Before finishing school, they both died in separate traffic accidents. One of them loved cross country running, at which he was very good and rode a motorbike. I don't think I should name him, lest I awaken old memories, in someone, that they would prefer were left to rest. One day, as he rode near the school, some careless person opened their car door without looking. He struck the door on his motorbike, went over it, and under an oncoming bus. The boy who was always laughing, would never be heard to laugh again.

The other boy was equally unfortunate. From what I heard, he was engaged in some kind of race, in his car, and came out of a side road onto a main road, at just the wrong time. He got hit side on (his side of the car) and that was that.

So, these two very pleasant boys never really got a chance to live. They never graduated from school. They never went to University. They never began a career. They never married. They never had children. They never really had a life - they just had time to begin one and to leave a memory of pleasantness in the people around them.

When I contrast their lives, with that of my recently deceased centenarian relative, I realize what a privileged and special life she lead, that she had the chance to live so long and do so much. She was a lucky woman.

(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 @ 10:16 PM 


Anonymous Anonymous said...

sorry to hear your lost.

i had lost my friends too, here in university,22 feb(actually, i didn't know them very well). accident. everybody feels their lost. even they dunno them.
my coursemate too died last former schoolmate died two years ago.

feels really weird when i have turn more older, every year, many people i know, face their death.

maybe,others feel the same.

7:42 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Thank you for your heartfelt words. I am sorry to hear of the loss of so many young friends.

Yes, it does feel weird that live goes on for some, but not others.

Take care.

Best wishes.

10:00 PM  

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