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 +

Monday, July 06, 2009

A child's curiosity about the world.

Tiarnan, three, is curious about the world, as many young kids are. Yesterday, however, I was surprised at just what he was curious about.

"Daddy...what is lightning?", he asked, his elfin face full of intent.

I explained. When I had done so, he turned his mind to another question.

"How about neutrons?", my three year old son, asked, saying the word "neutron" as if it were most familiar.

This rather stunned me. How did he know about neutrons? What had made him curious about them? What did he already know about them?

I told him what they were.

"How about virus?", he then asked.

I explained.

"How about acid? Is acid small?"

That really surprised me...that he should ask about the SIZE of acids. That, in itself, seems to be a fumbling after a theory of the world as made up of minute things: a proto atomic theory if you like. I rather had the feeling that he had come upon this thought himself, from the way it was expressed.

I told him about acids.

"How about Rhino beetles?"

"I don't know anything about Rhino beetles. I am sorry."

He stopped asking questions, at that point. I think the fact that Daddy didn't know was enough to silence him. To him, I am a living Google, able to answer any and all questions with encylopaedic authority. Unfortunately, he had asked a term with no references in my particular inner encyclopaedia - except in terms too vague to provide a satisfactory answer.

This exchange with my three year old son, called to mind his elder brother, Ainan, who was also very interested in matters scientific from an early age. I am led to wonder what kind of boy Tiarnan is going to turn out to be. He has the personality of an actor - and the mind of a scientist. Perhaps he will be both - or, like Michio Kaku, make science documentaries for the masses.

The funny thing about all of this is that, even though I have been a father for nine years, I still find myself surprised by my children, at times. They seem to have infinite creativity in the surprise department.

(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 @ 10:35 AM 


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