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 +

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Fintan's knowledge of animals.

Fintan, five, likes animals. Though yet young, he seems to be developing somewhat of an expert's eye, where they are concerned.

A couple of days ago, the subject of snakes somehow came into conversation.

Fintan observed, to his mother, as if it had just come to him: "Mummy, an Anaconda is like a Python, in that both kill by constriction...but, you know, an Anaconda is amphibious."

She rather got the feel that he had pieced this one together himself, from information gathered at different times. It was delivered, not as an act of recall, but as an act of thoughtful observation - there was, in his voice, the air of a puzzle clicking into place.

It is a wonder where children's interests come from: why does Fintan like animals? Why does he seek to understand them? So, too, why did Ainan become interested in Chemistry at a similar age? What led him to such an arcane choice of subject matter for his consideration? I don't know the answers to these questions - but I do know this: it is ever a surprise to hear what Fintan knows about animals, just as it was with Ainan with regards to Physical Science.

At this stage, we cannot know if Fintan is going to develop his interest in animals beyond the level of a personal interest. We cannot know if he is going to be as interested in biological matters as Ainan is in physical matters. However, we can say this: they both came to a scientific interest of some kind, at about the same time, without any prompting from anyone else. Fintan chose his interest, just as Ainan chose his. We didn't do anything to guide him, or create the interest in is emerging from within him.

Incidentally, Howard Gardner, of the Theory of Multiple Intelligences fame, suggested that there is a Naturalist intelligence, that determines the ability to make discriminations and have perceptions about the natural world. It would seem that Fintan has a fair measure of this, since, when very young, he was able to distinguish crocodiles and alligators from a brief flash on tv (a couple of years ago!)

We will see if this interest develops and persists. For now, I am enjoying watching his enthusiasm unfold.

(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 @ 6:44 PM 


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Being the oldest of 7 siblings or varying ages, the youngest now currently 3. I tend to see a lot of interests developing.

(Excluding my 35yo brother)

The 18yo is heavily into EMO Rock Music and Girls, while 15yo is really good at drawing. 12yo is hooked on Nintendo DS Pokemon, while sister 9yo is into educational cartoons on TV.

The youngest 3yo loves taunting his older siblings, loves anything that makes a huge noise when thrown and a scary love of diving off the arm of the sofa onto the cushions. Thus meaning he may well join the Pro-wrestling circit when older :D

12:19 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Riverman, you are fortunate to have a large family, in age of singletons. (Many kids in Singapore seem not to have siblings). This gives you a rich diversity of experiences others lack.

Thank you for your brief descriptions of the family characters!

8:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Out of interest. My 35yo brother does a lot of Karaoke and visits your neighbour Thailand quite a lot.

His Karaoke business is popular there too.

Thank you for your reply :)

11:07 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Yes, they like Karaoke in this part of the world.

As for Thailand...he had better be careful. It is pretty unstable presently...we were lucky to get home from our holiday there before chaos ensued.

Send him our regards.


5:35 AM  

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