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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 +

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Fundraising drive in support of my continued writing.

I have been blogging, now, for over four years and three months. In that time, I have written nigh on 1,500 posts and spent thousands of hours writing carefully considered posts, and replying, with equal consideration, to thousands of correspondents, from all countries of the world – and I mean all.

I realized something today about all of this: I have invested thousands of hours of my life, of my creative powers, of my thought and feeling, into this blog and into communicating my understanding of the world. That is a huge personal investment of mental and emotional energy. Now, I would like to point out something to you: all of this past four years and three months, there has been a gold donation button on this blog. It is quite easy to see, being gold on a black background and sits just beneath the description of this blog, on the left hand side. I am going to ask you to think, for yourself, and make an estimate of how much has been donated to me, in thanks for all my writing efforts, this past four plus years. In your estimation, you might like to factor in, the not inconsiderable 344,000 people who have visited my blog in all that time.

So, what proportion of that third of a million plus people might reasonably have donated something in support of my writing? Do you think 10%? 1%? 0.1%? How much do you think they would have donated each? 10 dollars? 100 dollars? More? Please factor all of these aspects into your estimate. Also take into consideration that my blog has many regular readers, whom it is clear, gain much pleasure and insight from reading my writings.

I would be very interested if you could post your total estimate, in the comments below…so be honest, don’t change it…and post it, please.

Well, how much, in total, do you think has been donated to me, to support of my writing of this blog, since the day I first began it? Please hold that number in your mind.

The answer is that the total donations, since I began writing, is precisely zero dollars and zero cents. Nobody has ever made a donation: not one, single person.

Now, personally, I found that result both startling and interesting for what it says about people. Generally, it seems, people are willing to take, and take abundantly, but not to give anything, tangible, in return. It also seems that people either do not understand the unremitting effort needed to sustain a blog like this – or don’t care to think about it. This was a sobering realization – and a little bit sad, too.

Interestingly, I asked Ainan, my son, to estimate how many people had donated, since the blog began – and he estimated that a significant proportion would have done so. He was more than a little surprised to learn that no-one had. I rather think that most people (correct me, below, if you think otherwise), would think that there would have been significant donations. Do let me know if you are as surprised as I was.

Part of the problem, I think, is that everyone probably assumes that “everyone else is donating, so there is no need for me to do so, as well”. Well, the fact is, everyone is wrong – no-one has donated, at all.

We live in a strange world. Everyone wants the products of creativity – but no-one wants to pay for them. There seems to be the belief that creative people don’t need to make a living. People seem to think that because a person writes, sings, acts, paints, composes, thinks, that they are able to support themselves and their creative activities, without an income. Well, sadly, that is just not so. Creative people need to eat too.

I have a family, as anyone who has read a few posts will know. I have three young sons, and a wife. I have, therefore, responsibilities to that family to spend my time in productive ways, that support that family. Expending thousands of hours on a blog that has never produced a cent in return, does not, upon reflection, seem the most productive way to spend my time, in support of my family. Granted, it does allow for self-expression…but, it has, to date, produced no tangible return. The benefit to others, through learning from what I write, is much greater than any benefit to myself or my family. Yet, that benefit has never been acknowledged by a donation.

Today, I have, therefore, decided to launch a fundraising drive, to support my continued writing of this blog. My writing is a creative work – and all creative acts should be rewarded with some financial return. If not, then the creative works must be created at the penalty of a sacrifice of personal income (because the time spent creating, could have been spent earning)…and that seems unfair.

If you have enjoyed my writing and/or believe that my mission to promote an awareness of giftedness and all the issues that the gifted face, in society, is a worthy one, deserving of support, then please donate by clicking on the gold button to the left of this page. Your donation will help allow me to continue my work in this cause, since it is becoming increasingly hard to justify to myself, given my family obligations, the thousands of hours I spend on my blog, without any financial return at all.

Donations may be of any size – any donation will be a help. Just reflect on what these past four and a quarter years of writing are worth to you. Reflect, too, on the value inherent in a blog that puts across the perspective of the gifted, through anecdotes, so that there might be wider understanding of all that is at stake.

In recognition of your generosity, in support of my continued writing, I am going to create a list of top donors, to be appended to the end of this post, initially. Should the list grow too long, I may create a separate blog post for it. If you would like your name to be on the list of donors, please mail me your name and, if relevant, company or organization (if they are involved in the donation), along with details of your donation. Alternatively, you can post details of your donation below. Please note, I will not put up the name of anyone who does not expressly give me permission to do so. It might be interesting if you could also include your nationality. I only ask this because it would be interesting to see if certain nationalities are more generous than others. It would also indicate which countries are more supportive of their gifted minority.

The top donors will be listed in order of size of donation with the greatest donation, and number one donor, at the top of the list. The amount donated will also be listed. At the end of the year, I will write a post detailing the total donated and my observations about any patterns of generosity (or lack thereof) around the world. Please get donating! Thanks.

Top Donors in support of my continued writing on giftedness.

1) Tearsunderstars (pen name) from Singapore. 50 US Dollars on 6/1/11.
2) Lee Li Jen, from Singapore. 20 US Dollars on 27/1/11

Thank you!

(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: http://scientific-child-prodigy.blogspot.com/2006/10/scientific-child-prodigy-guide.html

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.

There is a review of my blog, on the respected The Kindle Report here: http://thekindlereport.blogspot.com/2010/09/boy-who-knew-too-much-child-prodigy.html

Please have a read, if you would like a critic's view of this blog. Thanks.

You can get my blog on your Kindle, for easy reading, wherever you are, by going to: http://www.amazon.com/Boy-Who-Knew-Too-Much/dp/B0042P5LEE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=digital-text&qid=1284603792&sr=8-1

Please 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: http://imdb.com/name/nm3438598/

Ainan's IMDB listing is at http://imdb.com/name/nm3305973/

Syahidah's IMDB listing is at http://imdb.com/name/nm3463926/

Our editing, proofreading and copywriting company, Genghis Can, is at http://www.genghiscan.com/

This blog is copyright Valentine Cawley. Unauthorized duplication is prohibited. Use only with permission. Thank you.)

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 2:15 AM 

7 Comments:

Blogger Transitioning said...

Hi Valentine,

Thanks for your good writing.

There are a few questions posted via the writeup published on my site.

I wonder if you can answer them directly?

Let me know and have a blessed new year ahead.

Gilbert Goh

6:10 AM  
Blogger Louis said...

Valentine,

I started a blog once based on the idea it would get donations too. It didn't get near the traffic yours has but it hasn't gotten any donations either. I don't think people donate to a personal blog especially if they're coming to it as free info.

Adsense revenue on the other hand is probably a more fair marker. I think people are comfortable looking at ads in exchange for the otherwise "free" info you post.

Additionally, I'd think if you wrote a book on how to raise prodigy children, it would sell well especially to home schoolers. I know I'd buy it and I don't even have any kids yet.

12:17 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Thanks for the perspective Louis and your common experience.

Re. Adsense revenue: that is modest because very few people take the time to look at and click on the ads. If more people clicked on ads, that they thought might be interesting, then revenues would, of course, increase. However, I think people tend to become blind to ads after a while and no longer see them. My adsense revenue only covers a fraction of the cost of my internet connection. However, given the number of people that visit my blog, it could be a lot more, if those people studied the ads, too.

Re. a book. Hmm...perhaps I shall write a book. The blog, then, might be seen as a way to introduce people to some of my writing, so that when a book comes out they are familiar with me and, one hopes, more likely to buy.

I have written several books - not published yet. Let us see what can be done with them.

Thanks Louis.

1:40 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

I shan't be posting your comment "Daniel Smith From New Zealand". It is vaguely insulting in the assumptions it makes about our lives. I do note, firstly, that you commented from Singapore, not New Zealand...so either you are an expat...or you are not from New Zealand. Anyway, that is not an issue that particularly interests me. What does is your assumption that the only way to be "productive" is to seek the highest monetary rewards possible. You advise Banking and Finance in Singapore, as "productive" - many people would see that as an eminently UNproductive choice. You however, just see the dollars that you are paid for that work.

It is typical in my family to choose creative work. We believe this is more productive than the kind of work you advise. It is work which contributes something new to the world, in some way. I can see you are not familiar with my work, nor my wife's...this is a sign of perhaps inadequate research on your part, though you are very quick to come to judgements based on inadequate information.

I see you are able to understand no value in writing clearly of one's experience. Not everyone feels as you do. There is value in this record that you are not able to recognize. That speaks of your nature, and not that of which I write.

Thank you for commenting however...it reminded me of certain attitudes I noted in Singapore...attitudes which don't contribute to a better world, in any way, but which are common in Singapore.

4:40 PM  
Blogger Syahidah and Valentine said...

Daniel, I must say, I don't know where you got this strange idea that blogging was my job! I blog as a hobby. Actually, I work in three creative industries in parallel - one scientific and two artistic. That is my work...blogging is something else altogether.

I hope that is clearer now.

11:05 AM  
Blogger Syahidah and Valentine said...

Thank you, Daniel, for revealing to me the marvellous extent of your linguistic ignorance. It is funny to note your basic assumption that your own command of English is flawless, when, in fact, you are overlooking one basic problem: you are from New Zealand…a land far from the fount of the English language. Has it never occurred to you that your own grasp of English might be, shall we say, a little irregular? It is very clear from your comments that you are unaware of the latitudes and possibilities of the English language as it is spoken and taught, in England. It is also very clear that you have a considerable rigidity and limitation of thought processes in general – a distinct narrowness of the mind that does not admit any deviation from your own vision of what is “right”.

Indeed, you are a prime example of the Dunning Kruger effect – that in which an incompetent person is unable to recognize competence in others.

You question my use of “as to”. I find this funny, for it shows that you don’t know that this means “with regard to”…a meaning which fits perfectly in the context of the sentence you critique. All other examples you give are also permissible within the bounds of standard English – though not, it seems in “Daniel Smith English”.

I have seen your type before Daniel. You presume to know and understand more than you do. You also presume to be better than those you are not. You also become very venomous towards those you see as somehow challenging your “eminence” in any way. At least, that is the type you now seem to embody.

Some of my work will become known to the public this year. You will seem very foolish then, to yourself, just as you now seem foolish to me.

Lastly, I must remark that you very much seem to be in the mould of “Internet haters”. These are people who take it upon themselves to hate someone on the Internet that they have never personally met and know nothing of, directly. They proceed to build a “hate case” on secondhand information and rumour and just general prejudice – without any real foundation. You are very much like this. All your thoughts and suppositions are baseless – yet you think them solid. You know so little of what you write, that if you knew less, you would be utterly empty. Your hate is a form of irrationality, because it has no real world foundation.

You call yourself “gifted” – yet show certain limitations of thought, that suggest otherwise. You say you are not “anti-arts”, yet reveal an extreme distaste for someone who contributes to the arts. Perhaps you don’t know yourself very well, Mr. Smith. Perhaps it is time to look into a mirror and evaluate what you see there…honestly, if you can.
As for writing skills…you are funny, since I very much doubt you have written much in your life. Before you discuss writing skills please go away and write a 750,000 word book, then come back to me. I have: have you?

11:27 AM  
Blogger Syahidah and Valentine said...

I note, Daniel Smith from New Zealand, that you have posted another comment on this page. I have not read it, and nor will I read it. I have decided not to read your posts, any more, because they are just written as provocations meant to insult or incite a reaction. They are not positive contributions to any form of debate or discussion...so I have stopped reading them.

I do not know why you took it upon yourself to behave in such a hateful way on my blog. You don't know us. You know nothing about us, in truth. You only have superficialities to guide you...yet you came to conclusions which you felt were justified on the basis of no actual knowledge at all. I don't know why you did this. It is not a rational thing to do and is not fair to the truth of us, at all.

Perhaps you are a reasonable person in your real life - but you have not seemed to be one in the context of this online conversation.

When I say that I haven't read your last comment, I am being truthful...I haven't and I shan't. I feel it overwhelmingly likely that you have said something disagreeable or offensive in some way...so why should I even read it? It would be silly of me to do so. So I shan't.

Thank you.

4:36 PM  

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