Raising Little Geeks – Geek Dad
–Raising a Geek can actually be the best parenting out there!
There isn’t anything much better than seeing your kids enjoy “Geekdom”, as a Geek Dad! I have wanted to write a blog/article about raising Geek Kids for a long time… but I never had the proper motivation to do so; not sure why. But this past weekend, as three generations of Star Wars fans sat in Regal Theaters, I was filled with motivation.
I’ve had the blessing of of being a Geek Dad for the past seven years. I’ve loved EVERY minute of it. When I first became a dad, I didn’t think about the enjoyment that could be had with my kids in all the wonderful areas of geek and nerd that I was into. But as time moved along, I slowly saw my son (and then my daughter) watching superhero movies, liking sci-fi, and branching into many other areas that I enjoyed. It was all new and awesome!
What I didn’t want to happen, was to “force” (no pun intended) my likes and dislikes on the kids. I know that sometimes a child will like something just because a parent does. Or, that the parent will try and live “through” their kids! Here is an example.
My favorite superhero is Superman. I love everything about him. So much, that I have a superman shield tattooed on my back and my wife and kid’s names surrounding it. My son obviously knows that Superman is my favorite hero. I noticed that as he got older, he would bring up Batman all the time. But he would consistently say “But I like superman better…”. I could tell that he liked Batman better, but didn’t want to tell me. Now, in the grand scheme of things as a parent, who cares right? Is this really that big of a deal?
Let me see if I can explain why.
The whole point of raising my children, is to set them up to be self sufficient adults that think for themselves, act on their own and don’t turn out to be people pleasers. I want them to be leaders, influential and confident.
Even at five years old, that “training” needs to start. If my son feels that he has to override his own likes to please his father, I feel that I have failed in some of the basics of being a Dad. Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that we should let all children make every decision on their own, let’s be smart here. I don’t want my son crossing a busy street in spite of knowing how “Dad” feels about it. But there is a balance here. My son needs to feel safe and confident, to “disagree” on a certain level.
This is where I think being a “Geek” Dad starts. The Geek part gives you a great tool to use. Let’s see if I can explain that a bit too.
I bought my son a Batman costume, Batman toys, and had an AWESOME Artist (Ben Herrera) do up a drawing of Batman.
I told my son that he could like anyone he wanted, or none… and I explained that Superman and Batman are great friends. I wanted to encourage him to branch off on his own. Now, he likes both characters (Batman is still his favorite) and added a third, Captain America! (Ok, all you Geek/Nerds out there, I can hear the collective sigh about Marvel/DC.. just check out THIS pic if you really want to get riled up!)
The same thing happened with my daughter, who liked Supergirl. Same explanations, same choices, now she likes Batgirl and Wonder-Woman. (Proud that my daughter likes superheros at all haha)
There are many things that can be described as “Geek”…. Everything from comics to wilderness survival. The real trick comes in supporting what your kids like, period. You can be a Geek in Lego building or fishing… in crochet and in yarn. But as Geek parents, we have the opportunity to truly show our kids how to be their ‘own’.
My wife, bless her, supports my Geekdom. She actually came and sat through the new “Star Wars – The Force Awakens” movie this past weekend. Having parents that support each other is a big help on this journey. My wife is a Geek in her own right though, just check it out…
One of my favorite parts of the Star Wars movie, was when my daughter leaned up and said, “Dad, when does the girl get the sword and fight? I want to see that…” It was cool to see a boy and a girl share the screen as equals in the battles and the ‘lead’ part. Letting my daughter see that as ‘normal’ is even better. She loves to draw, bake, paint her nails and more. But she wrestles with me like a champ (as well as with her brother…). She loves her Wonder-Woman cups and Bat-girl costume. She colors My Little Pony and can sing every Frozen song, but will sit through three episodes of Star Trek The Next Generation and binge watch with me on Netflix. (She’s five btw..)
Being a Geek Dad is not about finding ways to get your kids to enjoy “Geekdom”. It’s about finding ways to let your kids enjoy what THEY like and seeing that there is a bit of Geek in everyone. It’s about encouraging your children to not be embarrassed over liking Star Trek, Superheros, knitting or coloring. It’s about showing them that it’s OK to not like what everyone else does, or vice versa.
We constantly here that the ‘world’ wants kids to grow up confident, as good leaders, strong, decision makers, not followers of the crowd. But that same ‘system’ strives to tell the same kids what that means and how they should do it.
As parents, we need to lay the “Foundation” for confident leaders… Good way to remember this?
You don’t convey to your children “Smart people think this way, and you are smart.. so you will think this way too…”
You convey: Smart people think…. and it’s OK to think.
That way, they are comfortable to agree with someone else on their own merit, or not. If my son turns out to like Superman, that’s awesome. It’s OK that he likes the same hero as me! But I want him to like Superman because HE likes superman, not just because I’m the Dad..
Geesh, this Geek Dad thing is complicated! 😉