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Raising Nerds - Chapter 1

Raising Nerds

Chapter 1 – Why I am taking my kids on this Journey

“I am a nerd.” If you are my age, and like me, then these words were never openly spoken when you were growing up either. The public ridicule that usually followed being branded a nerd was not something most of us enjoyed. So, like other nerds, I read my comics in secret and flipped through my super hero trading cards when home alone. This could be the beginning of a sad story, but, in fact, it is just the opposite. The nerds have inherited the earth, you see. Not only are we trendy, but we are also the captains of industries that drive the world, and not just as stereotypical scientists. We. Are. Popular.

Now as an adult (and I use that term loosely), I am raising my own kids to embrace true nerddom. They are experiencing joy in these worlds every day, while I get to relive my own childhood joy through their eyes. If you don’t believe me, watch Star Wars (A New Hope, thank you very much) with a kid for the first time. Their commentary will be the highlight of your week, but I will talk about that later.
I have two boys, and they are as different as night and day. One is a skinny bean pole who is fascinated by letters. The other is a bruiser who wants to smother you with love and head butts. As different as they are, they both believe they are Batman, and they have the capes and cowls to prove it. Yes, they love super heroes, and it chokes me up inside to see them playing Justice League together. When you allow a stereotype to drive the way you raise a kid, you end up with a Thor and a Loki. And that’s bad for the universe.
Most important life lesson, ever!
The oldest when not proclaiming he is Batman runs around the house with a blanket cape and a bucket on his head as Super Logan, a super hero persona of his own creation. His world has its own rules and he has very defined powers. He never breaks character. Don’t even try to call him Super Logan when he’s out of costume, because he won’t respond. He knows that a secret identity is important, and he will never reveal his.
Every kid, even the jerks who bullied nerdy kids in elementary school and junior high, began toddlerhood with an imaginative view of the world. Somewhere along the way, it was dimmed or tragically extinguished. For shame on the person or society that kills that spirit in a child, because it’s one of the most significant elements of child development. And while the ability to use your imagination in a creative context can be fruitful throughout a person’s life, I must confess that this isn’t the only reason I believe that raising my kids as nerds is important.  

You might be older, but I am Batman!
Never forget it!
There’s something more going on here. Life is a journey, after all. And in this life, we all encounter villains, schemers, side-kicks, fellow heroes and heroines, moral quandaries, and moments that will leave us feeling like the cosmos themselves are being torn apart. Stories that build into the fabric of our reality concepts and modes of dealing with these ultimately very real scenarios and personas can shape our reactions and moral fibers, all under the guise of a good read or fun cartoon. I raise my kids as nerds, because they are the heroes of their own stories. And that is as it should be.
I like to think that one day my kids will look back on all of the adventures we had together, and appreciate the times we had. Whether it was watching Batman, playing Justice League, building Lego fortresses, or just flat rough housing as super heroes (with me as the bad guy of course), these are times that will help shape them into the men I hope they become. The way I see it, there is no better role model for a boy to have, besides his dad, than Captain America. It is because of that belief that I take my boys on this journey of nerddom, and why I will share it with you each week.

The Good Nerd
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