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, January 27, 2011

The Nurburgring race track, Germany

I have to come that the true purpose of children, is to surprise their parents. That, after all, is what my children do, with astonishing regularity.

A few weeks ago, Fintan, seven, was in a shopping centre, with me. We were walking past an electronics store. Outside it, were some high end televisions, showing glossy images, to attract attention. One of them showed a racing car in action.

"That", said Fintan, as he stopped in his tracks, "is the Nurburgring."

Personally, I was flabbergasted. How on Earth could Fintan recognize a German race track, from a few seconds of footage on a TV?

"How do you know that?", I asked Fintan.

"Anyone knows that.", said Ainan, with an implicit shrug.

"Really?", I countered, looking at him, intently. "How many seven year olds do you know, that recognize the Nurburgring, from a glimpse?"

"Ah.", said Ainan, coming to a realization, "Yes. Among seven year olds, perhaps none of them would recognize it...but among those who know about racing..."

"Yes...and how many youngsters do?"

Ainan fell silent, his wordlessness sufficient agreement for my liking.

I thought the whole incident very informative for the way my son's mind worked. He only needed a fragmentary image of the Nurburgring, to recognize it. That can only mean that he is very visual in his thinking - or at least one aspect of it - and is able to match parts of images with ease. I was impressed, for it was something that, at forty two, I could not do. I simply didn't know enough about racing to recognize the tracks. Fintan, at seven, however, had imbibed enough background knowledge, from his shared passion for cars, with Ainan, to do so, in an instant.

Like I said, to be a father, can be surprising, at times, but also humbling...for though young, little children may be able to do things, that one cannot do oneself - and they do it, without apparent effort.

Well done, Fintan!

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 2:37 PM 


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