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Nerdy Parenting


Posted June 5, 2013 by

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Hi, my name is Nathan.  I am a comic book collector.  I am a Star Wars fanatic.  I am a horror movie buff.  In short, I am what most people would classify as a geek…or a nerd…or a ‘fanboy.’  (Although I really hate that phrase.)  Yes, I am all of these things.  But I am also a dad.

As a parent, it is my duty and responsibility to raise my child correctly.  Make sure that she studies and does well at school.  Make sure that she makes good choices.  Teach her right from wrong.  And we do that.  But we also have a responsibility to teach her our culture.

When I say our culture, I do not mean mine and my wife’s.  Yes, my wife and I are very much in love, but she is not one of us.  No, I mean ‘our culture’ as in ours.  Yours and mine.  It is my job to teach her about the things that matter really matter because they really don’t.

I started her off at a young age.  You could say that she was and is my padawan learner.  (Dear Microsoft, recently when typing the word ‘Padawan’ into Microsoft Word, I noticed that it came up as a misspelling.  I would have thought that a computer company ran by computer people would have included that word in their stock dictionary.  No worries though, I know how to click ‘Add to Dictionary.’)  When most parents would sit with their child and read “Good Night Moon,” I was reading “The Hobbit.”  Instead of Barney, we watched ‘Battlestar Galactica’ (the original one) and ‘Wonder Woman’ with Lynda Carter.

It’s not that I want her to only like the things that I like.  She is fine to like other things as well.  Well, not everything.  For instance, take “Twilight.”  (Please.)  She is 11 and right now is dying to get caught up the sparkly vampire craze.  I have questions about allowing that into my house.  It’s not that I have issue with the subject matter or the content from an age appropriate standpoint. No, my issue with the content comes from an entertainment appropriate standpoint.  I understand that many people find this very entertaining and all that.  And that’s great for them.  (I am reluctant to admit that I have seen the first movie.  It was late, it was on Showtime, I was awake.  Not proud of it.)

Look, I know that there are more important issues affecting (effecting?  I always get the usage there mixed up) modern parents than which order to introduce your child to Star Wars in (4, 5, 6, 2 and 3, 1 if ‘they-sa are being pyuu-nusished’) or Bat-Nipples or organic web-shooters.  (And yeah, I just quoted Phantom Menace.)  We have violence in school, rampant bullying and so many other real world problems.  Quite frankly, I am not qualified to deal with those problems.  But I can talk about stuff that does not matter….or does it.

My daughter, The Squid (squirt+kid=squid), and I recently sat down to watch a new series.  It is a series that up until now, I am sad to admit, I have just never watched.  So we sat and were both introduced to The Ninth Doctor together.  (Now, I started with 9th because from what I understand, that is the best jumping on point.)  We sat and got to the one where Rose and The Doctor go back in time and Rose saves her dad’s life.  (I won’t give away the ending, but it’s a good one.)  At the end of the episode, my beautiful little angel put her hand in mine and simply said, “Dad, I love you.”

At that point all the troubles of the world; fiction and non-fiction, real or imagined; drained away and it was just the two of us.  It wasn’t ground breaking or even the first time she said it.  It was just a real moment.

So that is kind of what I will be doing.  I won’t focus on any one aspect of the geek (or nerd) culture.  This is more of the overall lifestyle experience and my tales and stories of passing it on to a younger generation.  I wish I had some cool catch phrase to end this column with, something like ‘To the stars’ or ‘Excelsior!’, but I don’t.  So instead, remember:

Everyone is geeky or nerdy in their own way.  It could be baseball. It could be ancient Roman architecture.  Just be cool.

-Nathan Gifford

Nathan Gifford

Nathan lives in Cincinnati, Ohio with his wife, child and Zeus The Mighty, their dog. Nathan is a writer, a father, a songwriter, and a human.


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