I’m a proud geek. Have been all my life.
In high school, I was the kid who spent her free time and study halls in the music room or memorizing lines for the next play. I lettered in band and drama (I’ll give you a minute to let the enormity of that sink in for you). As an adult, I am a card-carrying member of a number of fandoms. Name a wildly successful young adult fiction series and I’ve probably read all of the books and seen the movies. My favorite car music comes from movie and musical soundtracks.
My husband also geeks out over certain things. You should hear him talk about Bruce Lee as if he were a demi-god. (I’m Team Chuck myself.) Star Wars vs. Star Trek? He loves them both. He’s introduced us all to the superhero universe. We are a Marvel family, in case you were wondering; but the DC heroes have gotten some screen time in our home.
There always seems to be a bit of negativity associated with the word “geek”.
Admit it: you read the first sentence and you probably thought of an awkward teenager with big glasses and an uncool haircut, whose interests were more intellectual than athletic. I can’t say you’d be wrong about any of that, as evidenced by pictures of me in high school (see below and try not to laugh too hard). Now that I’m a mom, though, I want to take the unfair stigma out of being a ”geek”, especially when it’s used as an insult.
There’s a great quote from the actor Simon Pegg that sums up exactly what I want to teach my daughters. It goes something like this:
“Being a geek is all about being honest about what you enjoy and not being afraid to demonstrate that affection. It means never having to play it cool about how much you like something. It’s basically a license to proudly emote on a somewhat childish level rather than behave like a supposed adult. Being a geek is extremely liberating.”
This is how I want my girls to go through life. I want them to figure out what it is that makes them so excited that they have to shout it from the rooftops. It doesn’t matter what it is that gets them to completely lose their minds with joy. I don’t even care if their passions change from one season to the next. More than anything, I want them to find what they love and revel in it.
Even as young as they are, I can already see signs pointing to where my daughters’ geekiness will take them. The school year’s just begun, and already my 9-year-old has signed up for drama. She ran for class representative, and recently met her hero — Bernie Sanders. One of her teachers asked her to present a project at Tech Jam a few weeks ago.
My 5-year-old has suddenly discovered science. She’s started carrying a backpack with disposable gloves, a magnifying glass, and a pen and paper. She’s still learning to read and write, but she’ll scribble notes on everything she “sciences” to be reviewed later. (Spoiler alert: she’s getting a microscope for Christmas.)
Seeing their eyes light up when they talk about these activities is what truly defines them as geeks in my mind. My job as their mother is to continue to support and encourage these passions, no matter what society says is “cool”. I guess you can say I’m a geek when it comes to this aspect of raising my kids, and I’ll do whatever I can to help their dreams become a reality.