Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Encouraging

This morning, The Boy and I wound up behind this bus of Lake Hamilton students.  What a great way to start our day!


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Why I want to raise a nerd

The Boy:  “I’m afraid I’m going to get made fun of.” 

We were on our way to school this morning when my son told me this.  I had just taken this picture of him.  When we were still getting ready earlier that morning, I had told him to get some gloves to wear for school.  He got out his Pikachu hat with the gloves sewn into a scarf.  He looked stinkin’ adorable.  But he was still worried what the other kids would say.

Me:  “Do what you’re comfortable with.  If you’re not comfortable wearing it, don’t wear it.  But if you like it and you want to wear it, then wear it.  Don’t let others decide who you should be.  I get made fun of, too.  I know what it’s like.  You want to wear your Pikachu hat, and you should wear it because you like it.  But if you’re afraid that you’re going to be made fun of and that you won’t be able to handle it, then you can leave it here and just wear your regular gloves.”

The Boy:  “[Unnamed Relative] said that I don’t need to listen to you because you’re going to turn me into a nerd someday.”

Me:  “Being a nerd isn’t a bad thing.  I would be proud if you were a nerd someday.  I would be proud even if you aren’t.  I kind of hope that you become a nerd someday because it’s ‘nerds’ that have created so many good things in life.  Electricity, computers, video games, medicine…  Nerds aren’t bad, they’re people who make life better and more interesting.  Just remember that this is why it’s very important that we don’t make fun of others for wearing or doing things that they like.  We should always encourage each other.  If somebody likes something, we should allow them to like it, even if we don’t.”

This conversation first thing this morning both broke my heart and hurt my feelings.

Can I just say first and foremost that one of the worst things about being a parent is that you put so much effort and energy into making sure your child is happy and confident and secure with whoever they are and whoever they're becoming and whoever they want to be...and others get to make 'funny' comments to break their confidence?  This is honestly one of the things I detest the most in this world  No wonder suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States.1  We're teaching our children from a young age that you have to be who others expect you to be and not who you were created to be.

With that said, I thought I'd just take a moment to share with you some of the reasons why I think my kid would benefit if he were to grow up to be a nerd.

But before diving in...let's take a quick look at the word "nerd".  There are a lot of people throwing that word around as if it's something lowly or ugly.  There's nothing negative about it.  Like nerds, the definition of a nerd is a frank, honest, and candid assessment.  We don't hide it.  And we shouldn't apologize for it either.

Merriam-Webster defines "nerd" as:
  1. a person who behaves awkwardly around other people and usually has unstylish clothes, hair, etc.
  2. a person who is very interested in technical subjects, computers, etc.2
The Urban Dictionary lists 369 different 'definitions' for the word 'nerd'.  The top four ranked are:
  1. One whose IQ exceeds his weight.
  2. An individual persecuted for his superior skills or intellect, most often by people who fear and envy him.
  3. An 'individual', i.e. a person who does not conform to society's beliefs that all people should follow trends and do what their peers do. Often highly intelligent but socially rejected because of their obsession with a given subject, usually computers. Unfortunately, nerds seem to have problems breeding, to the detriment of mankind as a whole.
  4. A stereotypical label used to describe a person that is socially inadequate. A four letter word, but a six figure income.3
So I struck out the first one above because it's pretty offensive to say that larger people can't be nerds, too, even though traditionally it's the skinny white male that's thought of as the nerd.  Nerds—much like homo sapiens in general—come in every shape, size, and color, and dimension.

That's the thing about nerds.  You don't have to fit into a cookie cutter to be one of us.  (Note:  Cookie Cutter is our household slang for the types of individuals who all choose to look the same, act the same, talk the same, and be the same.)

We're accepting.

This basically sums up every reason I could give for why I'm glad I'm a nerd, and why I would be glad if my kid wound up being one, too.

You don't have to look like us to be one of us.  In fact, nerds are kind of like tongue-prints, there are no two nerds that are alike.  Which is why it feels like nerds embrace differences and diversity a little better than non-nerds.  Wear what you want to wear, make what you want to make, share what you want to share, be who you want to be.  We know what it's like to be a pariah for being who we are.  Why would we victimize someone else for being true to who they are?

You also don't have to be passionate about what we're passionate about.  Just be passionate.  Obviously I love Doctor Who.  Does that mean I roll my eyes and groan at every Sherlock fan that comes across my Tumblr Dashboard?  (Trick question:  Sherlock, too, has attained a level of awesome in the 'epic' division and I thoroughly enjoy it as well.)  Find something you like and tell the world why you like it.  You'll meet new friends with a shared interest and you may introduce existing friends to a new passion, but if you don't, that's fine, too.  I enjoy a good book (or a bad book or just about any kind of book) and my husband relaxes best with a video game controller in his hand.  That's fine.  We like what we like.  Nerds accept this.

How do we learn to accept this?  Typically by being rejected.  Honestly, that's the best way to learn.  And I'm okay with my kid facing a little rejection.  I want him to know what it's like to be different so that when he meets others that are different, he can be accepting of them and not hateful, hurtful, or critical.

I also want him to learn to be accepting of himself, too.  I want him to have the safety of being comfortable with himself because I believe that if you're not true to yourself, you'll never truly feel comfortable being yourself and you're less likely to find an honest feeling of safety with anyone else.  If you can't feel safe with someone, how will you be happy with them?

I could list economic reasons as to why I would be tickled to raise a nerd, too.  LZ Granderson did a fine job of it, though, so I would just point you in his direction if that's what you're interested in (See:  Why I'm raising my son to be a nerd, 2011).
Jocks go on to play for your favorite team but nerds go on to own the teams those jocks play for. --LZ Granderson

When it comes down to it, I will love my kid no matter what he turns out to be.  If dyed his skin green and decided he wanted to be an alien when he grows up, you know what, the only thing that would change for me is what colors we choose to wear for our Christmas Cards.  If he woke up one day and embraced sports whole-heartedly, I will cheer him on at whatever he chooses to try—whether he succeeds or not.

But the honest truth of it is that my kid likes to read.  My kid likes science.  My kid loves to learn.  My kid is fascinated by technology.  Why wouldn’t I embrace that?  Why wouldn’t I encourage him?  Why would I make him think that he is anything less than one of God’s most wonderful creations—no matter what he does with or becomes in his life?

My kid is a S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math) kid.  And those kids are going to be the adults that will be running the show in the future.  Does that mean there’s no place for Jocks or Pencil Pushers or Cookie Cutters?  No, we all have our place in the future.  But my I want to raise my kid to change the world, not change himself.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Conversations with the Husband | Adorable

Me:  (Taking my hair down for the umpteenth time) Ugh!  I just want to shave my head today!
Husband:  Feeling a little Karen Gillian, are we?
Me:  (Putting my hair back up)  I should have washed my hair.  My book was too good though.  (Taking my hair down for the frustratingteenth time)  Gaaaaaahhhh!!!  BLIMEY!  Blimey!  Bollocks!  BUGGER!!
Husband:  (Laughing)
Me:  I know.  You can't take me seriously when I use them, can you?
Husband:  But you are adorable!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Resolution

Everyone's asking for my resolutions.  I don't get this, but sure...whatever.

Can we just start with the fact that I wasn't completely kidding about this?



I mean, seriously!  It's a great idea!  And some of the women (and one man) on my friends list agree with me!  (Or are humoring me).

But yet, people are asking—most likely out of habit—"What resolutions did you set for the year?"

And while I could list seriously boring things like 'Getting in shape' or 'Focusing on the positive' (which would be on my list, I've decided that life's a little more fun when you take it less seriously.

So my resolutions for 2014 are as follows:
  • Replace any of my traditional words of frustration (including but not limited to "God Bless America!", "Son of a Gun!", and "Dadgumit!"—no judgment, I live in The South) with "Blimey", "Bugger", and "Bollocks".  They make me want to smile and if I'm frustrated a smile would be a good thing.
  • Figure out a pattern and sew my own fleece footie pajamas.  With thumb-holes and pockets.  (Seriously not kidding.)
  • Build something.  Not sure what yet.  Ideas I'm mulling over would be a Tardis-shaped birdhouse, some wooden Calvin & Hobbes cutouts for the front yard (again, seriously not kidding), a picnic table, or some sort of garden-ish something (ideally with capabilities for a fairy in residence).
  • Unplug and empty the fish tank in the guest room since Harry Potter (the last fish) is now fully disintegrated. 
  • Convert some poor unsuspecting soul into becoming a full-fledged Whovian.  
  • Draw something that I deem "good enough" to hang in the house.  (Preferably something a little nerdy)
  • Paint something (else) that I deem "good enough" to hang in the house.  (Preferably something a little nerdy)
  • Determine the timeline of a bruise.  (Already started on this one.  So far Day 4 is the day the bruise is the darkest.  Green & Yellow tones come into play on Day 6.  We'll see if it's consistent.)
  • Read 52 books.  (Working on this one as well).
  • Complete the conversion of The Kitten into being a lap kitty.
So that's really about all I've got. 

All attainable, but all fun, too.


Thursday, January 2, 2014

Closing Arguments

My Goal for 2014:  Embrace the best, dismiss the rest.
I've been focusing a lot on positivity and negativity lately.

For several months I've toyed with the idea of implementing it into my blog for 2014 (still chewing the cud on that one).  As I've tried to call myself out on my own negativity in order to get rid of it, I've been noticing it hiding in plain sight in other places as well.  Which lead to a conversation tonight when the husband got miffed with me earlier this evening when I referred to him as 'negative'.  He adamantly insisted that he's not negative.

A short time later we were laying in bed and I had the blissful realization that tomorrow is Friday and thus tomorrow is jeans day.

I commented, "I could really get used to this whole two days on, then off one, two days on, and then off two."

He responded, "It makes the week feel like forever though."

Dismissing it, I continued on, "No, it's great!"

Negative Nancy countered, "You get two Mondays!"

"And two Fridays and two Saturdays!" I quickly responded and then added, "See?  Negative!  There were two positives to point out and you chose the one negative!"

Ladies and Gentlemen, I rest my case!

P.S. - This post published with permission.  My apologies to all of my would-be-verbal-assassins (of both the in-your-face and the behind-the-back varieties), you'll have to find another reason to annihilate me.
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