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, October 21, 2010

In the event of fire.

About a week ago, Syahidah asked her two youngest sons:

"What three things would you take, from the house, in the event of a fire?"

Syahidah's voice was neutral, with no invocation to a particular answer or style of response.

Fintan, seven, took the question seriously and answered with certainty: "I would take my blanket, the PS3...and mummy." His sobre eyes spoke of love.

His mummy was touched.

I had been watching this exchange and piped up at that moment.

"What about Daddy?"

Fintan looked over at me, and dismissed the matter, with an implied shrug.

"Daddy," he said, explaining the obvious, "You can run."

Ah. I could look after myself, it seemed. He hadn't, however, considered that the athlete of the house, was actually his mother, not his father. I rather think that he was labouring under an unconscious bias: everything he had chosen to take, was a source of comfort to him - his blanket, which kept him snug and warm at night; his PS3 which he so enjoyed playing - and his mum, all full of hugs and kisses. Fintan, would seek to save all that brought him most comfort in life. I don't suppose a hug from big, cumbersome old Daddy was half as comforting, as one from warm, huggable mummy.

Tiarnan's answer to the same question was rather more inwardly directed.

"The Xbox, the PS3 and the laptop.", he said, quickly.

"But how could you carry all those?", said Syahidah, practically, to her littlest son, four.

"I would have to!", he said, his face all defiant, for an instant, at the thought that reality might challenge his aspirations.

Tiarnan's choices are all things he enjoys doing. They are, in fact, reflections of the same thing: computer games. Perhaps, at his age, he cannot imagine anything more valuable.

Considering this memory, makes me realize that I shall have to sit both Tiarnan and Fintan down and tell them that, in the event of a real fire, the most valuable "things" to save, are people, followed by uniquely irreplaceable items, like art, or writings with only one copy. Apart from Fintan's last choice, all other items are replaceable, and need not be bothered with, in the event of a fire. It will, I think, be a valuable lesson to our two youngest sons.

(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 @ 11:23 PM 


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