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, February 19, 2012

The mystery of mass extinction.

Over a week ago, Tiarnan, 6, peered up at me, with questioning eyes, as we waited for his school bus, to take him to school in the morning.

“Daddy, why did all the dinosaurs die, but other animals are still alive?”

He had a point.

I then explained to him how many of today’s animals did not exist at the time of the dinosaurs. I explained that they had evolved since then and did not, therefore, have a chance to die in the extinction event that killed the dinosaurs.

He didn’t comment on my answer, he just listened, quietly.

I found his question impressive in a way. It shows that he is not just acquiring facts, but considering the “whys” of how they could have become, in the first place. It was clear to him, that not all animals had been treated the same way, it seemed...some lived and many had died. Therefore, he saw the fact that there were animals alive today, as a mystery in itself. That is an interesting way to turn around the question of mass extinction – he was not asking, “Why had the dinosaurs died?”, he was, in fact, asking: “Why had all these other animals not died?” That is quite a sophisticated way to reconsider the facts.

I rather like my mornings sending Tiarnan to school, even though it is very early. I like them because he is very alert and filled with questions. He likes to probe the mysteries of the world, through me, by posing questions whilst we wait for the bus. Some of them are scientific in flavour and answer – and some of them philosophical. Whichever it is, I am pleased to hear him, for by asking questions, of me, he is answering one of my own: “What is in my son’s head?” It is ever pleasing to find out. So, carry on questioning, Tiarnan!

Posted by Valentine Cawley.

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 3:42 PM 


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