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, November 24, 2009

The dance goes on.

It is funny to see what is inherited by one's children. Sometimes it is like seeing the essence of a parent poured into the child - a reanimation of the soul. A case in point occurred last Friday, with Tiarnan, three.

Tiarnan was having a "Concert", for his graduating class from Kindergarten. Each class got the chance to dance at least once. Tiarnan had more than one dance.

Now, I didn't expect much from a children's dance - and indeed, most of the children were not really able to dance: they didn't know where to place their limbs, and when to communicate beauty in anyway. Tiarnan, however was a revelation. What was startling was to see him dance with the utmost confidence in his movement, his grace and just the right choice of placement of limb, to have the greatest effect. I realized, very quickly, that Tiarnan, though very small, was a natural dancer. I felt deeply touched to see him dance, for I realized, in that moment, that he was, in a very real sense, like a living reincarnation of his mother - who is the best dancer I have ever seen (though she would be shy to acknowledge it).

I felt so proud to see Tiarnan up there. He can be quite shy at home - but on stage, he came truly alive, in fact, more than alive, he was like a little demigod, up there, shining forth with a previously unseen stage presence. I understood, then, that Tiarnan really is a natural performer. The stage, for him, appears to be a natural territory - a place he instinctively knows how to be, on.

Tiarnan's stage presence and his skill at dance and movement are special abilities. I realize this. I understand this. I appreciate this. However, in Singapore's unilaterally academic environment, how many people see this? Does anyone, here, really understand the emotional and kinaesthetic intelligences involved when a child is able to do what Tiarnan did, on Friday? I think not. Singaporeans typically do not see the intelligence in such things - nor do they see its value. Perhaps that is why Singapore's dramatic and dance scene is so irremediably impoverished.

Tiarnan is a natural actor and a natural dancer. He is also many other things -but were he just those two things, I would be more than pleased. Such gifts, are wonderful gifts to have and mean that he can make an interesting contribution to life. However, I think his eventual contribution will be more complex still and diverse and whether it ever involves acting or dance, will depend very much on the opportunities he receives to learn and grow in those areas - and, of course, the chance to work in them, too. I don't know, at this time, whether any of those chances will be forthcoming - but I will try to make it so.

What really struck me about his presence on stage, is that he seemed so happy there - so comfortable. That, in itself, is the best sign that it is the right thing for him. He showed no nervousness, no worry, no fidgeting - he was utterly still when he should be still and in graceful motion, when he should be moving.

Tiarnan...the stage loves you...and it seems you love the stage. Tiarnan, you were by far the best dancer, on the stage that day, out of all the years who danced (up to six years old). I am glad you have discovered this particular pleasure so young. I hope, too, that you get more chances to explore it, in the years to come.

The discovery of Tiarnan's dance skill was uncanny. I felt, at once, its potent meaning: that the dance which began in Syahidah, continues in Tiarnan. Whatever genetic gift my wife has for complex graceful movement has been passed on, in sufficient measure, for it to be seen in her three year old son. I cannot, at this moment, know if he will ever be as good as his mother (that hardly seems possible!), but certainly, he has enough of her gift for dance to be noted for it. It would be good to think that he will one day be as good as her.

What was particularly funny was that Tiarnan was dancing to 70s music. It was sweet.

I hope, one day, Tiarnan, that you see little dancers in your own children, too.

Long may the dance go on!

(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.

We are the founders of Genghis Can, a copywriting, editing and proofreading agency, that handles all kinds of work, including technical and scientific material. If you need such services, or know someone who does, please go to: Thanks.

IMDB is the Internet Movie Database for film and tv professionals. If you would like to look at my IMDb listing for which another fifteen credits are to be uploaded, (which will probably take several months before they are accepted) please go to: As I write, the listing is new and brief - however, by the time you read this it might have a dozen or a score of please do take a look. My son, Ainan Celeste Cawley, also has an IMDb listing. His is found at: My wife, Syahidah Osman Cawley, has a listing as well. Hers is found at:

This blog is copyright Valentine Cawley. Unauthorized duplication prohibited. Use Only with Permission. Thank you.)

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 9:29 PM 


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