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, July 01, 2012

Tiarnan's philosophy of knowledge.

Yesterday, Fintan, 9,  taunted Tiarnan, 6, on his return from home.

“While you were out, we watched Shrek 4.”, he said, expecting an upset response, perhaps.

Tiarnan was unbothered.

“I don’t know what Shrek is.”, he said, calmly.

He paused a little as if considering the matter.

“If I don’t know about it, then it doesn’t exist!”, he concluded. For him that very much seemed to end the matter.

Fintan didn’t want to get into a, what seemed to him, pointless argument over the existence or non-existence of something he had he left it and did not respond.

I thought Tiarnan’s statement interesting. It could mean many things. He could be saying that if he hadn’t heard about it, Fintan must be making it up. Or it could mean that if he doesn’t know about it, then it won’t bother him not to see it – because he won’t know what he is missing. I am in favour of the latter interpretation. Either way, it is an interesting stance to take on missing out on something – and one which deflated Fintan’s attempt to make him bothered about it.

Not for the first time, I am struck by how much of interest can be found in the conversation of young children. One only has to listen carefully to hear many, often unique, conversational stances, ploys, understandings and come-backs. Each of our boys, has the tendency to utter odd lines, which stick in the mind. Though, as a personality, Tiarnan’s probably tends to the most bizarre of the three of them.

As I hear them speak in this way, I do wonder at what kind of adults will emerge from this period of intellectual and personal fermentation. Each of them promises to be at least a little different from the norm...and that can only be good.

Happy philosophizing Tiarnan!

Posted by Valentine Cawley

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 11:06 AM 


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