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, May 05, 2011

The company of peers.

Last week, I chanced upon a scene that had, about it, a quiet contentment.

I had gone to collect my son, Ainan, from HELP University College. I was running early and had a few minutes to wait before his class was to end. Curious, I peeked in to the classroom, partly to make sure I was waiting in the right place. The scene that I witnessed was one to bring comfort to any father, who had taken the particular path in raising his son that I had.

Ainan sat at a table, in this Physics class, with three other students. He was talking, naturally, to them, and they were listening. What struck me about it was how comfortable he seemed, in that situation: a boy of 11, conversing with young adult students, in a Physics class. It was not his comfort alone that was evident: it was the attitude of the other students – they fully accepted him, as a fellow student, on equal footing.

I saw, then, how right I had been to make this opportunity for him. He seemed so at home, in that class, with young adult students. He had found his place. It seems to me, looking back, that he is more at home, at HELP University College, than he was in primary school. In the latter situation, he always seemed to be holding his true essence in reserve, unable to share it with his fellow school kids, because they simply wouldn’t have understood. Now, however, I think he is able to speak more fully of his thoughts, for understanding is more readily achieved. In other words, he is freer now, than he was before, at least in the intellectual dimension. His playful side is expressed at home, with his siblings, and when he has the chance to mix with kids his own age. So, now, I rather think he has achieved a more complete life: one that allows him to express himself intellectually, one that affords him peers who can understand him – as well as the other aspects of childhood, which are still available to him.

I shall hold that memory of him, speaking in a very relaxed way, with his fellow students. It is an image of contentment that, at one time, I did worry we would never find for him.

All this does make me reflect on all the naysayers against educational acceleration. So many ill-informed educators feel that gifted children should never be accelerated. If only they knew how content Ainan was, with his University, compared to his primary school, they would realize how wrong they are. All they would have to do to realize this, is to peek through that window, and see what I saw, that day.

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 6:02 PM 


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