I was a nerd growing up. I still am, but I was then too. Growing up I loved a few things and none of them were exercise or physical activity. They were video games, nerdy card games, and fantasy novels. I’ll keep it light when getting into detail here but you might be saying to yourself “He’s not the biggest nerd of all time.” And you’d be correct. I never hoarded nerd toys or learned to speak elvish. Let me say now, I am in no way denying who I was and still am in many ways. I am thankful my folks gave me the freedom to be unusually nerdy for my entire life and support my desire to be whoever I wanted to be.
This is who I am and who I always hope to be inside. This article in fact is why I believe more parents should encourage their children to engage in nerdy shit, specifically delving into fantasy novels. These things helped shape me, they also left me with wonder as a child, and they gave me something I think is disappearing in a way: Romanticism, ideological views, and a broad general sense of imagination.
I’m not saying imagination is dead, but I think it’s evolving. In a world of ever increasing realities being forced upon kids at a young age with the advent of 24hr news and YouTube. We have kids developing not believing in anything. We know it’s not real, they know what’s in the books isn’t real, but while reading, it becomes real. That’s the point. Children need wonder in their life.
I believe that by taking children and college prepping them in kindergarten we are robbing them of their childhood in a way; Athletic coaches, piano teachers, language teachers, tutors, and the infamous playdate. Children need to be taken on an adventure where they paint the picture in their own mind. A place where they envision characters in their mind’s eye without Hollywood or someone else telling them how a hero should be portrayed.
When you encourage your children to be nerdy or acting nerdy they do something I believe is extremely healthy. They trade in social norms and standards for something intangible. For a time children wont be bogged down by the demands that their life is calling for constantly. It serves as a respite from pressures and avenues of social anxiety.
For an hour a kid can be a hero in his own mind or sit and imagine what it would feel like to go on an adventure. They learn to visualize what being strong means to them. Heroes in stories bear a seemingly different level of moral fiber than your average Joe and I believe that this is perfectly healthy for children. In a world where our children see the flaws in life at too early of an age, it is a gift to them to be able to immerse themselves in a different world in which the hero(ine) lives with strength and integrity.
I impart this feeling with me in many of the things I engage. While lifting I like to think of the hero and the people in need. What if we had to save someone, chase someone down, or be useful in a time of strife. I don’t believe you can be truly physically fit and not bear some level of elevated mental fortitude. I believe if you teach children from a young age the beauty of living with integrity and grit, the hero(ine) qualities, they can impart these into every aspect of life. Whether it be school, business, relationships, whatever. Teaching your children to suspend social constructs in an effort to enjoy something in its purest form is one of the healthiest things you can do for them.
This pendulum can and does sometimes swing too far in either direction. Just as you have people who never take up a book and live as primal meatheads, you have kids who never venture outside their comfort zone of games and books to experience life. Both of these extremes have their own sets of pressures and norms that can be daunting and manipulate an individual in ways that may or may not be that positive.
The goal here is to find the middle ground. Show your child (or yourself) that diving into a world disconnected from your phone, friends, and pressures of life and spending time being someone else, somewhere else is not only necessary to being a healthy person, but will most likely make them more compelling and enjoyable to be around.
Read more fantasy novels. It’ll afford you the opportunity to relinquish the hassles of daily life whenever you desire. These books can awaken a part of the brain lost in antiquity: fantasy and wonder. It behooves you to recall a sense of what it feels like to be a hero or heroine. Your children deserve a chance to immerse themselves in an alternate world and exercise their imagination. So here’s my question; are you willing to seize your own “sword of destiny” and talk nerdy to me?