What Makes a Geek

Daryl may very well qualify as a full-fledged Geek. And I think he’s pretty much OK with that. I have come to the conclusion that being a geek… or a nerd, I’m not going to try to distinguish between the two, has nothing to do with how smart you are or even what you are interested in. It has to do with your attitude and care factor.

Here’s what I mean. Jane is interested in many nerdy things. She is very intelligent and does well in school. However, she wants to be popular and she knows what parts of her might make that difficult if she let them shine too much… or at the “wrong” times.

Saturday, she was wearing neon green shorts, a hot pink cami, knee-high blue softball socks with white polka dots, and bright orange Converses. Her closest friends would have thought she looked quirky and cool. But when it came time to go to a birthday party, she had toned it down.

“Why did you change?”

“I needed to deweirdify myself. There’s going to be cheerleaders at this party. They wouldn’t understand.”

Daryl, on the other hand, really couldn’t care less what other kids think. He painted his fingernails in second grade and when a little girl told him that boys don’t paint their nails, he responded, “Well, that’s obviously not true since this boy does.”

He once spent two years growing out a rat tail because he wanted to dress up as a Jedi Padawan for Halloween and wanted an authentic braid. Some kids at school called him the “funny hair boy” but he didn’t mind.

I don’t have a problem with either child’s approach. So far, Jane’s desire to fit in has not caused her to compromise her interests and talents. She just acts the way that fits the group she’s with. She’s developing good social skills that will help her interact with a variety of people, not unlike her dad. At least, I hope that’s what she’s doing. As long as she maintains integrity and doesn’t do inappropriate things just to fit in, she’ll be fine.

Daryl is cultivating his independence and self-confidence. He’s not interested in conforming to other people’s expectations. He’ll probably have a better sense of himself than his sister will of herself. But he might have more trouble fitting in with people who lack his interests.

It’s fascinating to watch them each make their way in the world and to see how they each mix the qualities they gained from their parents in different and unique ways.

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One thought on “What Makes a Geek

  1. More parents should take this approach…many kids struggle with forging an identity and get little serious support from their parents. Worse, many kids’ parents are either too coddling or their child’s harshest critic. Sounds as though you have a healthy respect for your children’s individual needs and socialization styles and they will be well-adjusted adults because of it.

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