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, February 11, 2010

Tiarnan on moral complexity.

Last month, Tiarnan, three, at the time, was talking to his mother about character. He stood still before his mother, with his customary serious expression on his face, when he is about to mention something of significance. It gave him a presence that demanded attention - so Syahidah duly gave it to him.

"Mummy, you shouldn't always choose the good guy, because sometimes the good guy can be bad, and the bad guy can be good."

It was an interesting comment, for it showed that Tiarnan's understanding of morality and character had gone beyond black and white, and now incorporated every shade of grey, too. For him, character was not clearcut, anymore: there were ambiguities and blurrings of categories. To me, this seems a sign of a maturing grasp of the nature of people - for no-one is perfectly one thing or another, but a blend, instead, of various dispositions. Tiarnan has come to understand that, already.

Seeing childhood, from the outside, as I do, as a parent, it amazes me how quickly, very young children come to understand the world, when you consider how little time they have had to do so. They seem to come an insight of what it is all about upon very little exposure indeed. It seems to me that they are better able to do this, than a typical adult: ie. come to an understanding based on little information. Young children, in my experience, do this very well.

In a way, this is very revealing, because it goes beyond the world view that Hollywood would have little children believe: that of the pure good guy and bad guy division. Tiarnan has seen much Hollywood fare...but he has also been observing the world itself. His conclusion is clear: all is not clearcut, the world is not black and white, but grey. It is, I feel, a step towards a maturer understanding of the social world.

(If you would like to learn more of Ainan Celeste Cawley, 10, or his gifted brothers, Fintan, 6 and Tiarnan, 4, this month, please go to:

I also write of gifted education, child prodigy, child genius, adult genius, savant, megasavant, HELP University College, the Irish, the Malays, Singapore, Malaysia, IQ, intelligence and creativity.

My Internet Movie Database listing is at:
Ainan's IMDB listing is at
Syahidah's IMDB listing is at

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This blog is copyright Valentine Cawley. Unauthorized duplication is prohibited. Use only with permission. Thank you.)

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 11:44 PM 


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