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 +

Monday, January 03, 2011

Evoking memories of Ireland.

Today, the most unaccountable thing happened: I stepped out of my house, in Kuala Lumpur, into the depths of the Ireland, of my childhood. It was the most uncanny feeling. It is also one I shall explain.

When I left home, today, the light was subdued, the sky being heavily overcast, so that the customarily so-bright-you-have-to-squint light, had been muted, to a dull, comfortable grey. Not only that, but there was a light drizzle falling, teasing with the unkept threat of rain to come. Opposite my house, there is a verdant field, of a plush green. This simultaneous conjunction of green, drizzle and greyness, suddenly convinced some deeper part of myself, that I was in Ireland. It was so like my childhood memories of the place: the incessant drizzle, the overcast sky, and its dullness of light, surrounded by endless green, that tumbles on, as far as the eye can see. It felt, in that moment, so Irish, so characteristic of my childhood days – now very distant – in that green and moist land. It was the oddest thing I can recall feeling in many years. My body, at its core, was convinced it was in Ireland: all the cues were there, all the signs of that unforgotten land. If only I had not known, for a fact, that I was not there, I could have believed it with all of myself.

I was with Ainan, at the time – and I tried to explain to him what I felt and why I felt it. I tried to make him see what Ireland was like. He listened quietly, having no experience of the place. I realized, though, in trying to explain my sense of Ireland to him, that I needed to go there and show my children what it was like. I cannot let their childhoods pass without giving them some experience of the land that played such a part in my own upbringing.

Ireland was not long in Kuala Lumpur. An hour or two later, when I emerged from my University, the moment had passed: the sky was no longer so grey or dull, the light had brightened to its customary discomfort, the rain had stopped and the green was elsewhere. Yet, the reminder remained within me, echoing on. The message for me, is clear. I cannot forever remain in Asia, but must, some day return to Europe, even if only for awhile. Today, I had not gone to Ireland, but Ireland had come to me. There is meaning in that, it seems to me. Perhaps it is time, I returned and visited, once more – but this time, with a new family in tow. I wonder what they will make of it? I know this, however: should they visit, it will give them a sense memory, such as the one that today evoked for me. It will give them a memory that they, too, might one day recall, many years from today, when their father is old and their children are young. I have to give them that. It will give them a bridge not only to their own past, but to mine, too. Such a bridge is worth building: it is what ties us to whence we came.

Perhaps, when I am old, my children will speak of the time (s) they were in Ireland (and the UK). I will know, then, that they share some part of the world I grew up in. There is a beauty in that, a symmetry which those who reflect on life, can only find rewarding.

If I am still writing, then, I will tell of that day. To do so, will be to have come full circle, in a satisfying way. Until then, then…

(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 @ 6:22 PM 


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