Raising Them Right & Nerdy

Well done, you’re creating a little imprint of you and your partner.

While your little one may take after one of you with those cute little dimples or mimicked your weird walk, they may not know how to take after you in the world of nerdom; so it’s up to you—as a responsible nerd of the universe—to show them all the weird and wonderful things that make living the nerdy life, a trip.
Let’s face it, if you’re like me, you have a ton of action figures lying around the place (from when you were small, or big—it’s our right to collect at any age!). If those action figures are still lying in the attic of your parents’ home—time for a friendly visit! Foster that little nerd of yours with the help of your collection. Robotech Dolza? Shogun Warriors? She-Ra? Maybe even that beloved wind-up Link toy? There’s no question your mini-me will catch your passion when you not only leave these in the crib or toy box, but participate in playtime (trust me). It may be hard to let go, so think of this as collector therapy; some of those Star Wars MIB figs aren’t worth as much as you think they are, so it’s ok to tear that box open and let your kid go nuts. Remember, don’t start freaking out when Jr shoves Boba in the Sarlacc pit (aka the sandbox), just take deep breaths and realize it’s what he was meant for.

When it comes to music and exposing your budding nerd to the wonderful world of rock, take out that favorite Ramones or Misfits album and blast those tunes while you’re carpooling to school, banging up a meal in the kitchen or during homework time (we know you like it loud, but only on the low volume setting for homework, parents). From first-hand experience, kids fall asleep pretty easily while listening to The Beatles’ “I’m Only Sleeping” track. But that’s not saying much; I’ve had kids fall asleep just as quickly to Iron Maiden’s “Fear of The Dark,” too.

As far as screen time goes, forget about the Hollywood movies spoon-fed to your kids. Dive into your nerdy passions and show off your collection of flicks both you and your younguns will enjoy. There are plenty of choices out there, with Sci-Fi and Fantasy films of the 50s and 80s at the top of the list. May I suggest Fred Dekker’s The Monster Squad or Fred F. Sears’ Earth vs. The Flying Saucers as a couple of great examples. Short Circuit, My Science Project and Electric Dreams (a must-see for the romantic techie nerd) are also some that will get the kids’ cogs turning. Not to mention obvious classics like Labyrinth, Secret of Nimh, Invaders From Mars and Them. Free this weekend? Pop the corn. I think a kid-friendly movie marathon filled with aliens, monsters and giant insects is in order.

For those who like to think deep, here’s my final gift to you: the annual Kids’ Philosophy Slam. Get your future fully-fledged (K-12) nerd thinking about everything from the meaning of life to ends justifying means, whether or not the pen is mightier than the sword or expressing what it feels like to do the right thing (topics vary depending on grade level) which they are allowed to express in words, artwork, poetry or song; then watch your offspring go to battle with other like-minded little ones to become the most philosophical student in the country (or, as I like to call it, the coolest nerdy kid around).

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