Audrey Cade explains why she is proud to be raising the next generation of nerds
I know enough about technology to get myself in trouble. I can get by on a Smart phone, navigate through the basic functions of a computer and Microsoft applications, I live part time on social media,and I can re-set the time on my microwave. If one little thing goes wrong, I sound the alarm for my husband or one of my kids to rescue me. With my minimal talent in all things technological, you can probably understand my shock and surprise that I am raising the next generation of nerds- and I love it!
Six kids (two biologically mine, and four by marriage) call me “mom.” Two of my sons dedicate a handsome portion of their lives in the room we have lovingly dubbed “the nerd lab.” The lingo bouncing around within these four walls and the tasks completed in there defy the limits of what my poor non-geek brain can handle. I am a foreigner in their very strange environment, but I admire the fact that they are enraptured with pod casts, programming, memory, and all things just too nerdy for me to comprehend.
This summer I signed my kids up for 4H. I was mainly interested in getting my daughters involved so they could learn to sew and, quite honestly, develop some skills in some of the things I like to do. Once I researched a bit more about the club, I learned that the rest of the kids could also get involved in a number of other projects that would appeal to their interests and even self-determined original projects. Leave it to my 13-year-old son to develop his own project about coding. He blew me away with what he learned and accomplished all by himself! He learned how to program some simple video games and presented an original video game, which earned him second prize for the county. My 15-year-old stepson completed a project about rockets and physics. I was of no help to them because their assignments were (literally) over my head, but I was proud of their intellect and optimistic for the futures they can pave for themselves.
Hopefully I can add some balance to their lives because reality is just as important as virtual reality. I want my children to appreciate the arts, nature, and be able to complete tasks by hand as well as electronically. Technology has the capability to propel humanity to infinite heights, but it is essential to maintain a foundation linked to talents, skills, and knowledge that must be executed face-to-face or with one’s two hands. Real life social skills, use of the senses, and craftsmanship should not be thrown overboard to make room for the cyber option.
Aside from their computer and gaming interests, which are fairly popular for their generation since everything is rooted in technology, I love the fact that they are avid readers and connoisseurs of science fiction on film and other formats. I’m not going to lie. My children with their four-inch-thick books,glasses, never-ending dialogue about favorite you-tubers, odd humor, and questions about “what Spock would do” meet every definition of nerds that I would have totally made fun of when I was a teen! I grew up with kids cut from the same cloth who were labeled as laughable, updateable, and in their own class of losers because of their social awkwardness.
Now, geek is the new chic! Everyone wears glasses, is glued to some sort of device, and intelligence trumps cool in many cases. Nerdom is the current cook. Back in the day geeks, nerds, and dweebs were lampooned in pop culture representations such as the kids who had to use their brainpower to create a woman who would date them (Weird Science), or ridiculed in every John Hughes film. But, who literally has the last (dorky) laugh? The nerds! Revenge of the nerds, indeed! The nerds are the ones who grow up, often evolve from the awkward ugly duckling phase, earn an amazing education, get the incredible job, and get the girl!
Nerdom may have reached new heights of acceptance and cultural appreciation than ever before, which is pleasing to me that my own kids won’t be stigmatized by their peers for being of the more brainy than brawny variety. What pleases me most is that the next generation of geeks can pursue being who they are and achieving their goals, which can change the world! The geeks may literally inherit the earth because they will be the ones to design and perfect the innovations that will add convenience and improvement to our lives, cure disease, and advance our society to new heights in an unimaginable variety of ways. I am proud that my children may contribute to progress in any way!