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 +

Friday, September 17, 2010

Fintan's deft rejoinders.

Fintan, seven, is, as I have noted, before, a boy who surprises. He has a disarming manner which lulls one into a sense that all is to be as expected - and then he pounces with one of his characteristic unpredictabilities. If an "unpredictability" can be characteristic, of course.

Today, he bested me, twice, in conversation.

I was discussing reading with him. "Reading is the most important skill in life.", I opined, seriously.

"Reading?", he doubted, openly, "Not walking?", he continued, with one of his little smiles that says so much with so little.

He had me there. I imagined then, a life of utter immobility and compared it to a life of illiteracy. He was right: immobility was worse than illiteracy. The former quite deprived one of a rich life - the latter, however, might not affect one, anywhere near as drastically, if one's choices were carefully made.

He had won, without even trying. I just nodded, a little, in acknowledgement of his point.

Later that day I said: "I am going to buy a dog."

Fintan looked at me, his eyes sparkling, with amusement at what was to come. "You don't want to buy a dog, you should rent one."

Again, he had a point, for we are very unlikely to live in Malaysia for the length of a dog's life: what would we do then, when the time came to leave? He had identified the essential problem with my proposal - and proposed his own slightly whimsical solution.

I like the way he challenges my assumptions, points them out to me and punctures them. He does it so casually, as if, perhaps, it were an automatic reflex with him. I think it is, actually. I think he sees the problem with what is said to him, the moment it is said. He sees the cracks in things - the flaw that should be highlighted for a better understanding of the situation. It is a useful way to think, particularly if developed, as he grows up. It should allow him to avoid many a problem and to act, I should hope, with a certain care and wisdom.

In the meantime, I will continue to enjoy being defeated by my son's ripostes. It makes me smile, to hear him so.

(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: 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.You can get my blog on your Kindle, for easy reading, wherever you are, by going to: let all your fellow Kindlers know about my blog availability - and if you know my blog well enough, please be so kind as to write a thoughtful review of what you like about it. Thanks.My Internet Movie Database listing is at:'s IMDB listing is at's IMDB listing is at editing, proofreading and copywriting company, Genghis Can, is at blog is copyright Valentine Cawley. Unauthorized duplication is prohibited. Use only with permission. Thank you.)

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 11:30 PM 


Blogger Fugamante said...

I actually think Fintan meant something quite humanistic with his remark on 'renting' the dog instead of 'buying' it.

Perhaps we are both wrong in what we make of it but I think he meant that a 'dog' -as a living being- can't be bought as what it is, but rather rented for his life is his own, regardless of the circumstances at which you find it, or it finds you.

He took away objectivity to the material 'thing' a dog is and supplanted it with subjectivity towards what it means to share time with a living thing that's gonna either die of age or just keep on living with or without you.

Well that's how I see it personally. No matter how is seen the kid does have a point, and a groundbreaking one, considering his premature method of reasoning.

Your kids are gonna love that you started their life's diary before they even considered starting one in the first place.

So many good stories.

I've said it before and I say again --you are a terrific father, sir.

8:20 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Well, Fugamante, Fintan is very humanistic, so your interpretation is altogether possible of him.

Yes. You are right. I think that my children are going to be very touched, when they grow up, and they realize that I spent thousands of hours of my life, over many years, making sure that they would have a record of their childhoods. I am giving them a very special present: their own early years, to be enjoyed when they are old enough to appreciate them, from afar. In some ways, it is the greatest present I could ever give them. They will be able to come to know themselves in ways that few of us, ever get the chance.

Thank you for your kind words. I am trying to be the best father I can be. I hope I succeed, in some measure.

Thank you for your comment. Please do so in future when you have something in mind.

Best wishes.

9:53 AM  

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