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, October 06, 2010

A fiercely independent boy.

A couple of days ago, I asked Tiarnan, my four year old son, an unexpected question:

"Tiarnan, will you have nanobots in your blood, when you are older?"

His eyes evaluated me, as if considering the meaning of what I had said and having a fair idea, but not absolutely certain.

"Nanites", I translated, into a term he knew from a computer game based on Marvel superheroes.

"No!", he said, shaking his head, firmly.

That surprised me, in a way. What followed was even more surprising.

"I want to be Dead Pool...because he has no team."

How was my four year old, declaring himself to be an individualist who doesn't want to work in a team. I understood then, why he didn't want "nanites" in his body - because in the Marvel game, all the nanite infected people work together in a giant team. They are not individuals, as such. Tiarnan doesn't want to get lost in a group, he wants to be himself and himself alone.

I think it somewhat unusual for such a young boy to so fiercely declare his independence. It seems to me, that when this is allied with knowledge of what he likes to do - often artistic pursuits, such as drawing, and acting, that here we have an artist of some sort, in the making. He will certainly be an individualist whatever he does become, one day.

Perhaps he will read this entry one day, and have his memory jogged of the day he declared his independence and individuality so clearly. I hope so.

Be what you can and be what you must, Tiarnan - and especially if that means being true to yourself.

(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.

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 5:00 PM 


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its great to know that children can be so independent, yet still have full love from their parents. I have met many children who seemed very independent, but also seemed to be lacking something. I would then see their parents. There independence was from feeling alone, like their parents couldn't help them. Many parents have techniques to help there children become responsible and independent. Many parents have fine techniques for doing this, but among these there are still some parents who seem to be paying no attention to their child, allowing them to have independence and slowly learning how to do so on their own ONLY by there mistakes. Mistakes do teach children some independence, but I find that parental influence is also needed to let your child be what they are capable of being.

I think you and Syahidah are great parents, and to know that your four year old son is able to make logical decisions at such a young age proves that you don't need to force your child to be independent for them to have great independence.

8:42 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

I agree that parental input can greatly assist the growth of a child to independence...however, some children seem able to make much of that journey on their own, like Tiarnan.

I certainly don't believe you need to force a child to be independent, indeed I believe that you shouldn't do that. It could be psychologically harmful and make them feel insecure about their world. Independence can be fostered, without force.

Thank you for your kind words regarding our parenting. We are trying to do the best we can. Perhaps, our biggest contribution is that we actually care about them...some parents are quite distant with their children. That is not us.

Thanks for your thoughts, Alex.

12:48 PM  

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