I’ve loved science fiction, fantasy, and games all my life. Even for those few short years when I was trying to pretend I wasn’t a nerd I still:
1. Watched Star Trek with my Dad
“aw Dad this is so lame (but I love it)”
2. Played Zelda. All the Zelda. And that game with the plumber brothers…
this is the best thing I’ve seen all day
3. Dressed up as characters from science fiction for Halloween.
Dr. Crusher I presume…
Looking back on this period of self-denial got me thinking… who would have cared if I watched Star Trek? Who would have cared if I liked sports or didn’t (I love basketball!) Would my friends have ditched me? And if so, would they have been good friends to have?
These are some of the types of questions I’m expecting my nerd kids to face with over the next few years. When the the young Jedi was four (now age six in first grade), he began to notice a drastic lack of knowledge about The Legend of Zelda along his preschool classmates. He found this rather disturbing. (Right there with you little dude). He also was puzzled about what to do about it.
He wanted to share his love of things that are awesome to him with his friends! Sure he liked Star Wars, and Legos were cool and all, but what he really Geeked OUT on was LOZ.
So, he brought this:
…with him to school and showed his friends (and teachers). He shared his love of games with them and how much fun the adventure could be.
That wasn’t the end of the story. Some kids thought his book was cool, and sat on the floor with him to look at it. He brought in a Link action figure (the only frieking one I could find man… that wasn’t a bazillion bucks and totally breakable geez). And he wore his favorite LOZ shirt. And we had kids over for a LOZ birthday party.
So far this example was all about my young Jedi sharing his fandom. But he also had to learn about what the other kids liked too. Turns out one of his best pals not only liked Disney Princesses but was a HUGE Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle fan. So she shared her love of Disney and Turtles with the young Jedi, while learning a little about Princess Zelda and Link.
Now I know what you are thinking: “But Dr. Nerd Mom, I was teased for being a nerd! I don’t want my kids to be teased too.” Truly some of us nerds had better experiences with our nerdy-ness than others. And it totally sucks for those of us who had those negative experiences. I hope my kids, if and when they suffer through those types of negative experiences will have the resilience to say “hey dude, I gotta just be me”. (Resilience among college students will have to be another post).
The young Jedi showed us all it could be done. And maybe even (dare we think it?) should be done! Share your Nerdy-ness with your kids. Share and love in their fandoms folks. Don’t be ashamed, let it out. I would be willing to bet there are other kids out there who will be cool about it too.
I mean, these guys look super unhappy to be nerds…
Final tangential thoughts: just because you’re a nerd doesn’t mean your social interactions are somehow dysfunctional or somehow “less fulfilling” than folks who don’t identify as nerds. Plus, everyone is a nerd now. Doesn’t matter if you like the Kardashians or the Cardassians. If were decent, we can probably learn from each other. Self identity man, it’s a thing. PS: in academic speak “self-identity” is good while “self-labeling” or “labeling of others” is bad.
Re: identify, don’t label.
Whatever dude, just don’t be an asshole.
-Dr. Nerd Mom
Transporter room, four to beam up