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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 +

Friday, August 05, 2011

A much better name.

A couple of days ago, Tiarnan, five, was playing in the TV room, whilst his mother, Syahidah, talked about a film that was on, to Fintan, eight.

Suddenly, Tiarnan stopped his playing and stood in a mix of puzzlement and startlement:

“What’s the Lizard of Oz?”, he asked, seemingly captivated by such an odd name.

My laughter was his initial reply.

Wizard, Tiarnan: it is the Wizard of Oz”. I then explained about the film.

He didn’t seem so impressed by Wizard, as he had been by Lizard.

I must say that I much preferred Tiarnan’s misheard name: it seemed so much more exotic. This little moment pauses me to reflect that young children are able to think things, that older children and adults not only do not, but cannot. The more we learn, the less that is possible, for us, in a way – for we know what cannot be or should not be. The more we know about the world, the less we can entertain its possibilities. To my mind, Tiarnan’s state is superior to that of an older child – for him, it is quite possible that he had heard Lizard and not Wizard. I fear an older child would not be able to hear such a thing, even if said: their knowledge of film, would intercede.

Posted by Valentine Cawley

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 8:53 PM 

10 Comments:

Blogger Joshua of Tyatora said...

Yes, this is very true, I should think! Somehow we have lost our wonder of things as our brains fill up with unequivocal things, like facts. I don't know if one is truly better than the other state -I suppose we use both states-of-mind for different things, really. But sometimes I wish I had more of that childlike (childlike, in contrast to childish) wonder/awe of new things, even if I'm so swiftly passing my adolescence! :')

Josh

8:43 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

I think the working world doesn't want us to have any child-like quality. However, I do think that it is one of the qualities of genius, to retain some of it. Sometimes, only in wonder, are the answers to be found.

Best wishes to you Joshua.

11:01 PM  
Blogger Joshua of Tyatora said...

Yes, that very well may be -I have heard people mention that it was the great tycoons of America's Gilded Age that revamped our education systems into the conformist, overly left-brained institutions they are. Apparently the idea is that they needed a generation of workers programmed to think along more business-and-margin lines, and so this was the education they lobbied in the US Congress. :P

7:57 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Thanks Joshua for the background on modern education. I am not impressed with the way kids are taught these days. It always struck me as rather "neurotoxic"! I don't think that modern education gives children the chance to be the best they can be - and the results seem to prove my point.

Are you completely home educated?

1:48 PM  
Blogger Joshua of Tyatora said...

How did you know I was homeschooled? Yes, I am totally homeschooled, though I'm taking some online courses in September. Which means I'll be losing my classroom virginity, in a way -albeit a virtual one. :P

NEurotoxic! I like that -sums it up so well! :) Best wishes to you too,

Josh

6:46 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Hi Josh,

I guessed you were homeschooled based on certain attitudes you seem to hold regarding conventionalized education. I guessed right, it seems.

Good luck with your forthcoming course. Do you ever intend to go to University? You don't have to. You could do online courses for a degree...but if you do, then you will experience the classroom for the first time.

Best wishes.

8:05 PM  
Blogger Joshua of Tyatora said...

Haha! Yes, I suppose my opinion on things is quite rare, and not always in a good way! XD But I'm honored, in an odd, inexplicable way, by your question. Do you homeschool too?

Most likely I'll be going university -probably to take something odd like comparative literature or history, or human geography, or suchlike. I like studying people and places and cultures.

I guess that's partially because I've often felt very misplaced in my own culture -being Chinese, but not being able to speak Mandarin, being Malaysian, but not being able to identify with it. And I have an odd accent and way of analyzing things, which fits noplace, really. this drives my dad nuts sometimes, because he's brilliantly wired so completely unlike me (that is, I unlike him). XD

Where were you born in, Mr. Cawley? :)

10:15 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Your mother, Josh, must be rather different from your father, for you to have such different wiring. I can see the elements of my wife and I, in our children: it is beautiful to see the way they echo us, in unexpected ways. All three of my children are a definable mix of their parents' thinking styles.

I was born in the UK, though of Irish parents. I am a migrant to South East Asia, since my wife is a Singaporean Malay. I left the UK at the end of the last century. It is interesting to have lived in more than one culture. I have spent considerable time in five cultures and visited about twenty - so I would agree with your interest in peoples and places. I would advise spending some time in a different culture: only by living there, can you truly expect to absorb it and come to understand it.

Good luck with your future studies and the travels I am sure will come thereafter.

10:41 PM  
Blogger Joshua of Tyatora said...

Thank you! :). Haha, yes, I do hope I can go some PlAces before I'm off to uni. Or off into the working world. :).

7:20 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Good luck to you, in whatever future endeavours you undertake. I went travelling in my year off before University. It was a good experience.I travelled around Europe by train...well worth doing. Try it!

7:47 AM  

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