Raising Your Children To Be Nerds

Nerd CrossingLast year I published a blog post titled Nerds, Dorks, Geeks, and Cool Dudes. I’d encourage you to bounce over there and read/skim it before continuing as it will set the context for the rest of this post.

OK. For those that didn’t read it, my point was to distinguish between these various labels we toss around and slap on people. They all have different meanings, different connotations, and stir up different emotions. Personally, I’m proud to say that I am a dork.

From the day Eva was born, Kristina has been telling me that she wants her to be a nerd. We don’t necessarily want her to be the most popular kid in school or the prettiest. In fact, Kristina has already made my father – a pediodontist – promise that he’ll put braces on Eva when she’s 13 (whether or not she needs them). We want Eva to value learning, to question things around her, to take her studies seriously … but also have fun. For those who watch the NBC show, Parenthood, we want Eva to be Haddie Braverman. All that being said, we also realize that we can influence who Eva is going to be, but in the end, much of it is out of our control.


Why I’m Raising My Son To Be A Nerd

That was the title of an article I read on CNN.com last week from LZ Granderson, a senior writer and columnist for ESPN The Magazine and ESPN.com and a weekly columnist for CNN.com. Granderson is also “a 2010 nominee and the 2009 winner of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation award for online journalism and a 2010 and 2008 honoree of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association for column writing.” Most importantly, LZ is a father.

Please take a few minutes and head over to CNN.com to read Granderson’s piece, Why I’m raising my son to be a nerd. I’ll wait. Also, I just love that he took the time to film & post a video response. He clarifies a few points, responds to some comments directly, and even talks to us about what he – the writer – learned from the readers.


I loved the entire article, but the last paragraph sums it up best.

If we want to have any lasting influence on the way our kids approach education — the way future generations approach education — then we have to grab our pom-poms and paint our faces and celebrate intellectual curiosity with the same vigor we do their athletic achievements.

Granderson is challenging us – parents, teachers, society – to take responsibility for our children’s education. He’s encouraging us to “celebrate intellectual curiosity.” I just love that.

What Granderson wrote really hit home for me. As a parent, did it also resonate with you? Are you raising your children to be nerds (or dorks)?

Image: Flickr – jparise

DJ Waldow