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, March 20, 2011

On leaving a mark.

Some of you may have wondered why I write so much, so consistently, across the years. It is not, after all, what most people do. The reason is simple but pervasive. I wish all that I have been, have felt, have thought and have seen could endure, forever. To my mind, it is not just death all Men should be afraid of, but forgetfulness – the loss of all that we knew, through the unadorned passage of Time.

I write so that one day, my children will see their own childhoods as I saw them, and my wife saw them. I write so that one day, I, too, will be able to look back on times past, with greater knowledge than mere remembrance, in old age, might afford. I write, too, so that long after I am gone, my words might remain to give some inkling of who I had been, and what my personal world had been like. Perhaps those words will find readers, perhaps not. However, it is likely, at least, that my own descendants will read my words and come to know their ancestor better, thereby. I am sorry, however, that such illumination shall be a one way casting of the light and that I shall not know who reads my words, or comes to understand, in some small way, who it was who wrote them and what was written of. Then again, that is how it is now. I do not, in general, know who reads my words. I do not, in fact, know most people’s reactions to these words, since few comment. I know this, however: that there are readers out there, in the unknown world of the Internet. Some of those readers have made it clear that they value my words, and find meaning in them. So, that is another reason to write: to create meaning in the minds and hearts of others, to communicate my understandings and the essence of my world, so that it might be remembered by and carried in other minds.

I realize, more than any other, perhaps, that even my greatest efforts towards making a written record is only the merest hint of what I have known, felt, thought and understood. I have not the time to record all my life as it is lived and experienced: I have only the time to select a moment here, or there, a thought now and again, and make of it, what I hope will be an enduring expression of it. Almost all of my life and the lives of my children and wife, will be lost, at the outset, for never having been recorded in any way, except in our minds.

I understand, too, that those to whom my words will mean most, are yet too young to grasp their import to them. My children will grow into an appreciation of what I am doing, or have done, depending on their temporal perspective. They will have a written record and reflection upon their earliest lives. To me, that seems a very valuable thing to have and something which is, I believe, very rare to have, since few parents spare the significant time and energy to make such a record. Few, in fact, would pause to consider its value, until it was too late to make it happen.

I don’t know, however, whether anyone outside of my descendants, will see value in my words, in the distant future, long after I am gone. However, whether it is widely valued, by others, or not, does not change the intrinsic value of making this record. It needs only one appreciative future reader to make it worth having been written. For then, my understanding would have been projected beyond my time, into the mind of another. I would, as it were, have left a mark.

(If you would like to support my continued writing of this blog and my ongoing campaign to raise awareness about giftedness and all issues pertaining to it, please donate, by clicking on the gold button to the left of the page. To read about my fundraising campaign, please go to: and here:

If you would like to read any of our scientific research papers, there are links to some of them, here:

If you would like to see an online summary of my academic achievements to date, please go here:

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.

There is a review of my blog, on the respected The Kindle Report here:

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:

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:

Ainan's IMDB listing is at

Syahidah's IMDB listing is at

Our editing, proofreading and copywriting company, Genghis Can, is at

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

Labels: , , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button
posted by Valentine Cawley @ 3:46 PM 


Blogger virginiagunawan said...

Hi Valentine. How are you and your family doing? :)

I remember reading some of your posts about being forgotten. It is, indeed, a scary vision.

But I don't think that you have to be afraid of that. You're a man with diverse interests and skills who can choose such a lovely wife and can raise super boys! You're good in communicating what you think and know what's good for the world and for your family. You know what you're good at and you ace all of your domains. You've contributed a lot to the world by your writing and I'm sure the boys can't hope for better parents! World needs more people like you :D

Prodigies and gifted children will be born from time to time and yet there still isn't a lot of resources discussing the issues and sharing the experiences raising them. People who are interested in these issues will come across your blog and will get a lot of benefit from you, like they do now, of course. I'm sure there are also readers who read this blog not because they have gifted child but only to learn how to be a good parent from you. Or maybe they're interested in other issues (not the gifted issues) you've discussed. There are also ordinary students (me!) who admire how gifted some people can be and kids who idolize your boys. Maybe I'm not making any sense; I'm just writing everything that comes to mind :) But what I'm trying to say is you've helped a lot of people by writing. So don't stop please!

Your blog is my favorite; not only because of the content and intelligence each post has, but also because of the emotion expressed and how your writing flows smoothly. In my opinion, you've made a right choice to write a blog. I'm always excited to check your blog to read about everything you write.

All that said, it would amaze me if you don't leave a mark on this world, because people can't be that ignorant, can't they? But that's only my opinion anyway.

I'm sure you've done a lot more that makes you unforgettable but these are the only things that come to my mind right now :)

I hope I don't offense you with anything I said because I didn't mean to. Cheers!

5:49 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Hi Virginia,

Thank you for letting me know what you value in my blog.I think the reason it is important to write it is that, no matter what other ways I might make a mark, through my work, the blog is a key way to relate that which is individual and personal about my world and that of my family. Were I just to leave a mark through my work, all evidence of my individuality might be lost. This particularly applies to my scientific work, which, necessarily contains little of the personal about it.

Your reflections on the meaning of my blog for others are much appreciated. Thanks.

6:06 PM  
Blogger virginiagunawan said...

By the way, can I ask how you and your family are doing? You don't post about them very often now and I'm just curious :) Thanks

6:18 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

We are fine, thanks, Virginia. My attention was just drawn elsewhere by recent events, that is all. Future posts will include ones on my family too.

Thanks for asking.

8:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is interesting to see that we have similar opinions on our writing. I also consider the future when writing, and how others may perceive it later on. I remember keeping a journal when I was younger, and on the first page I wrote "Do not read this unless I am no longer around." Unlike your blog, I didn't want anyone else to read my opinions at the time, but I decided to leave the message because I didn't want to be forgotten once I wasn't around anymore. I just decided I'd let you know that we have similar opinions on writing :)

9:41 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Thank you Alex for sharing your view on writing. I think it is the best way to leave an imprint of oneself, for later consideration. It provides the greatest detail possible of one's thoughts.

Happy writing.

10:42 AM  
Blogger heartistsmuse said...

I look forward to your words. Here it is calm, quiet and deeply insightful. Often I find myself bombarded and engulfed by a torrent of social networks where we're ironically "speaking" more than ever across a vaster, more inclusive forum while concurrently saying less. I find it exhausting even though its what everyone my age now prefers. These scattered little, quantum-like synopses that somehow seem too frenetic to convey the larger essence of self. I often have the same distracted feeling I have when I'm watching commercials. Its strange...

I've found one can have so many friends on their facebook et alibi that "update" several times per day, and still not know a single one of them in all these prolific bursts; it concerns me that this is rapidly becoming a dominant form of communication where convenience prevails over substance, and quantity of interactions (number of friends) over quality of connection. In truth I prefer emails and blogs to text messaging and social networks because I find the former more reflective and intimate. Though not always, I suspect. It seems one can read some popular blogs and not walk away any richer or more learned --- though it largely depends on content and blogger, of course. I must wonder if anyone has done any recent studies on how technology is affecting communication, id est human connection.... Though a more important question to ask is: what are words without substance? I must tell you coming here is like a clear breath of air after too many minutes under water. The sea has its wonders, though we cannot forget that man wasn't mean to live submerged down there.

Keep writing. It is appreciated.
You are leaving a mark. Blessings to your family.

12:42 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...


Firstly, I must say you have an interesting nom de plume - and that you write, well, yourself.

It is buoying to hear that you consider my words to be insightful. I write what I see and is good to hear that that is understood and appreciated.

I agree with your assessment of social networks. I don't use them much. I have, for instance, logged into my Facebook account perhaps ten times in three years. Though, I have recently started to look at Linked In, again, I am not very active. Personally, I don't grasp the import of communicating the absolutely trivial remarks that tend to comprise the bulk of social network chat. So, I would agree that email and blogs are more likely to be of substance - largely because it requires more thought to write in these formats.

I hope you are right and that I am leaving a mark. I would like to think that my words are reaching some people. I do feel that what I have to say does seem of more "substance" - to use your word - than is fashionable today. I rather thought this might be a problem in that many people nowadays don't really care for anything remotely challenging, worthy, thoughtful or any other way, of "substance". It is my hope, though, that some will appreciate what I write, both in the present and the future.

I hope you, too, carry on writing: you have a rich style all of your own.

Best wishes.

1:45 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape