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 +

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Dangerous music.

Quirkiness of thought and expression is a much under-rated characteristic. For me, the quirky are more interesting than the merely intelligent. Indeed, many of the world’s most interesting creations come from the minds of the world’s quirks, as it were.

Today, Fintan, eight, was playing with a children’s toy, which I believe to belong to his young niece (about 3 years old). He turned it on, and pushed a button or two. Electronic music bellowed out from it. He smiled to himself and levelled it towards me:

“Watch Daddy, this machine will erase your whole mind!”, he announced, rather theatrically. He then set about proving it, calling up repetitive annoying tune after repetitive annoying tune, laughing to himself all the while. He repeated each short snatch of music for maximal mind-numbing effect, punctuating it only with the occasional cackle to himself.

Before he had actually proved the efficacy of the device, but by the time I had become convinced that it, indeed, had the power to “erase my whole mind”, I told him, firmly, but with tongue in cheek:

“Switch it off Fintan, it is beginning to work!”

He had mercy on me and switched it off. Unfortunately, little Tiarnan, five, who had no mercy in him whatsoever, took over and chose the most repetitive irritating tunes of all to play, repeatedly. He wasn’t playing it because he liked the music. He was playing it because he liked the effect on his Daddy. After much amusement – from him, alone, I might add – he finally switched it off, after I had begged him several times.

I think Fintan has found the answer to the mystery as to why three year olds are generally surpassed by eight year olds, mentally: it is those damned mind erasing devices they play with!

Posted by Valentine Cawley

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 8:16 PM 


Blogger Adelaide Dupont said...


I read the sentence the other way around, so that eight-year-olds' minds were erased by mind-erasing devices, and were surpassed by the three-year-olds!

6:01 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Very funny Adelaide. Though I do know of at least one three year old who surpassed many an eight year old. No prizes for guessing whom that was...

8:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Quirky people are my favourite people!

Your post reminded me of this article I read within the last month, about how teachers don't like the personality traits associated with highly creative students:

10:34 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Yes, 7Sigma, the highest (unintentional) compliment anyone can pay you, is to accuse you of being odd or unusual in any way. The odder you are the more likely you are to do something extraordinary. Everyday people live everyday lives. Only extraordinary...that is quirky...people live extraordinary lives.

Thank you for the link. I, too, have written about the article they mention. I have also observed this problem close up in schools in Singapore, when I taught there. Never have I seen a more anti-creative system. Even I, the teacher, was punished for being creative!!! The whole system LOATHED creativity. In short, I would say it was a terrible place to receive an education - if you wanted a creative child at the end of it.

Carry on living a quirky life, 7Sigma.

11:35 PM  

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