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 +

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Problem parents.

Sometimes, parents are the problem, not the child. I see this quite regularly, in the kinds of searches people make. Sometimes, the searches indicate that the parent is the problem, in the parent-child relationship.

One particular recent case comes to mind. Someone from Bangkok - presumably a parent - arrived on my site with the following search terms: "Baby problem too talkative".

I thought those words were so sad. You see, there is no such thing as a baby that is "too talkative" - only parents who are too ungiving, of their time, their effort, their patience. A baby talks because it wants to communicate. If it talks a lot it means two things: it is thinking a lot and it wants to communicate much of it. This is not a bad thing - and it flabbergasts me that there are parents who think it is. If the baby wants to talk and is able to talk, it is a sign that much that is good is going on in the baby's mind.

It seems that that particular parent in Bangkok, wanted a child that required no effort on their part. They wanted a child to be a silent, undemanding object. They were perturbed that their child, in fact, was talkative and wished to engage with them. How sad it is that the parent didn't wish to return the engagement and seemed to find it a burden - a burden big enough to go searching for relief from it, on the internet.

I have seen, before, parents whose searches seem to imply that they want their children to conform. They want their children to be "easy to look after" - even if it means that the child cannot be a child. These are parents, whom I feel should never have become parents at all. They seem to want to deny the essence and reality of the child and have, in their place, a convenient accessory, that gives them the status of parents, without any of the bother, responsibility or effort.

Perhaps such parents should, instead, be seeking adoption agencies, for it is quite certain that they are unprepared for, and unable, to look after their child in the way one would hope. Indeed, perhaps such "parents" should have thought ahead, and adopted out their children at birth. There are many childless couples out there who would just love to have a "too talkative" baby to fill their days, with fresh thoughts on everything and anything - as such children are wont to do.

The saddest part of this particular incident with the parent in Bangkok is the long-term effect on the child. Now, the baby is "too talkative". However, if the parent persists in not engaging them, in snubbing their communicativeness - as one assumes they are doing, if they find the baby's efforts "too" much - then, over time, the baby will come to learn that talkativeness gains no response. They will come to learn that silence is required. In time, therefore, this wonderfully communicative baby, may fall silent and fall inward and become a child with much to say, but who never says it. They become the silent, watchful type who looks on the world with wise little eyes, but an unmoving tongue. Is that a happy outcome? Is it right to encase such an expressive child in entrained silence?

I don't think so. However, I fear that that is the likely future for that particular "too talkative" baby. Until, that is, they get much older, and find themselves in more accepting circumstances. Perhaps then, their silent tongue might free itself and grow active once more. Of course, it might be too late by then. Silence might have become an unbreakable habit and a once unusually communicative being, might have become an unusually uncommunicative one. I believe that such a change is possible: all that it takes is for their present toxic, ungiving social environment to persist long enough to train the child in a new way of communicating: that of relative quietness, in the face of the explict demands of the parents that he, or she, be so.

If you are the parent of a talkative baby, or a child; if their tongue never ceases to frame new thoughts, new observations, new questions, don't ever let yourself become impatient with the incessant stream - for that stream is destined to become a river of thought that the child will communicate to the world, when they grow up. Don't shut them off, now, so that they might never speak what is on their minds. Who knows, perhaps, in their ever-flowing words, there lies a future writer, or actor, or politician - or any other kind of verbally gifted adult. It would be such a pity to snuff out that future, by being impatient in the present.

So, never let yourself think that a child is "too" talkative. There is no such thing. There are only adults who are too unwilling to listen. Don't be one of them.

(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

Our editing, proofreading and copywriting company, Genghis Can, is at

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

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 7:05 PM 


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Be careful what you wish for. Babies remain babies only for a very short time, I think parents should treasure every moment with them (before they grow up and become busy with their lives).

Anyway, most asian societies believe "Silence is Golden". When I was in primary school, talking with friends at any time except during recess, is highly discouraged. Students are punished for talking, and being quiet is seen as a good quality. Even talking in a low voice or whispering is forbidden. It seems like teachers were discouraging all verbal communication. I remember it was ssssssoooo painful, when I couldn't talk/joke with friends in class. We felt so inhibited. URGH... school sucked back then.

I'm not sure how is it now though.

11:58 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

How bizarre. I am don't see how banning verbal communication is meant to help the mental growth of the children...oh, wait, school isn't about that, is it? It is about CONTROL.

A school which denies children the right to speak is a school which will stifly their development. Perhaps that is what schools are good at, in fact.

I will have to find out how schools are now. Thanks for your comment.

12:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I am don't see" ha ha
someone needs grammar lessons

8:12 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said... If you think that I need such lessons, you have read very little of my blog. The error above - which is so minor that it shall remain - is something called a typo. This kind occurs quite readily if you type fast and change what you are thinking, mid-thought.

Anyone should be able to understand that.

Happy reading.

8:25 PM  
Blogger AshleyMKennett said...

sadly not much has changed. i feel like i was always penalized in school for chatting or laughing in class yet ironically that's when i was happiest.

my family has been mostly understanding of any endeavors i have chosen to pursue, but at the same time have not exactly encouraged or pushed me or my sibling to achieve any "higher levels" of success.

higher education is just the icing on the anti-creativity cake, at least as a journalism student at a very mediocre university in the midwest.

i have a select few friends i went to high school with that i feel i can mostly be my crazy, extraverted self with-- but when i'm in class or in my current living situation i'm practically a mute. i TOTALLY agree with you about so-called education being much more about control.

i suffer from tremendous anxiety sometimes trying to figure out if it is possible for someone like myself to hold down a job. i teeter between feeling like i have tremendous gifts to share with the world to wanting to hide away so as to avoid feeling so misunderstood all of the time.

3:57 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Ashley, many schools penalize self-expression: they prefer silent, robotic, obedient children - just like the workers they prefer them to become. Yuck.

You are able to feel your difference. This is good. You should learn, next, to value that difference and to preserve it against outside influence: it is what makes you special. Yes, it can be difficult to find a role in society if you are different - but it is also true that the people who have the capacity to make the MOST difference, are the different ones. So be patient and strong and find a way to offer your gifts, productively - even if the world does not, at first, understand or appreciate what it is you offer.

Best of luck.

Happy New Year.

9:00 PM  

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