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 +

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The mystery of money

Fintan was singing a song, to himself, a month or two ago: "One a penny, two a penny, Hot Cross Buns...".

He stopped, mid-note and looked up at me.

"Daddy, why are hot cross buns, one a penny and two a penny?"

His puzzled face said it all. These lyrics did not agree with what he knew of reality. He had seen me buy hot cross buns in a local bakery - and they were several ringgits each (not a cheap shop).

"Well, Fintan, that song is from a long time ago. How long I don't know...hundreds of years, perhaps. In that time, perhaps hot cross buns really were one a penny and two a penny."

He seemed to peer back into time, to consider that ancient period with the mysteriously cheap goods. Then he nodded and resumed singing: "One a penny, two a penny...", satisfied that the words were not so absurd after all.

For me, there is something poetic in seeing my seven year old son, singing an ancient song. So, though young, he was connected to a distant past. It is interesting, but perhaps this song had been passed down from child to child, in schools, for centuries. What a funny thought that is. The first person to sing that song, in the particular chain that leads to Fintan may have died hundreds of years ago...yet here Fintan was, singing this age old song. What a beautiful observation.

It is awe inspiring to reflect on the power of human culture to transcend time and reach off into distant ages. A song, once sung, may never be unsung, if it is powerful enough to capture the minds of children. It will be passed on, from child to child, across the generations and the centuries, as Fintan's little song had been.

I wonder what future generations will sing of today? What will those unborn children recreate of their past, our present? Will anything survive, or do we leave in uninspiring times, that shall not survive in the human cultural inheritance of the children of tomorrow?

Perhaps you would like to suggest what children might be singing, or saying of today, a few hundred years from now. I would like to hope that something will survive. Any suggestions?

(If you would like to learn more of Ainan Celeste Cawley, 10, or his gifted brothers, Fintan, 7 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.

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 11:27 PM 


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