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February 16, 2004

To nerd or not to nerd.

I'm wrestling with a fairly serious issue:
How much exposure to all things nerdy do I allow Junior to have?

In my old job I can say that I have seen the absolute dregs of what humanity can become with unchecked forays into the world of obsessive compulsive nerd behavior. People that went unwashed for days. People whose social skills were non-existant.

These are the sorts of people who take Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Star Trek, Star Wars, Comic Books, Roleplaying games, toy soldiers, model trains, computer games and hundreds of other things way to far. You may not see it often but when you do it leaves a lasting impression.

Before anyone howls in protest I know you can take anything too far these days. There are people in just as much need of help over their gambling, sports, lawncare and their cars as the things I have talked about above. For whatever reason the above just seem to draw more than fair share.

I know some of this is concern of mine is driven by a desire to have a child with a long, successful, fruitful and joyful life. I also know that they will be drawn to what they like in ways that I will never try to control and never should. I'm not finding the right words here so I'll try to cover the bases.

I want Junior to realize that reality has so much more to offer than what is served up these days for entertainment. That Gibbon's history of Rome is made all the better by the fact that real men and women lived the tapestry of rich history that his books represent. That the modern day comics and paperbacks are pale shadows of the original myths our ancestors told huddled around campfires.

I know that sounds lofty. I know that children have to grow up at their own pace. While I know that I've indulged in some of the above I would like to think that my experiences have been fairly well balanced. I know when to paint toy soldiers and when to try to kiss my wife, much to her annoyance. I know when to run trains and when to do dishes. I loved Star Trek as a 3rd grader but find the re-runs to be painful beyond measure now.

I can't begin to guess what "normal" will be 15 years from now. I know I'll be called all sorts of things under Juniors breath and that I will be accused of not understanding how things are.

I just pray the kid figures out early on that reading beats the hell out of watching any day of the week.

Posted by Jim at February 16, 2004 10:15 PM


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