Boundbytheword Blog

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Am I raising a dork? February 15, 2011

Filed under: What's Up? — Noelle Bickle / Abby Brooks @ 12:18 PM
Tags: , , ,

An interesting situation presented itself yesterday. My son came home from school and informed me that he was only one of five kids in his grade six class that gave out valentines. He was one of only seven who brought in treats for the class. The others who did bring something in, be it valentines or treats, were all female.

Yikes, is this a bad thing?

He wasn’t at odds about it, actually, was quite impressed with himself. In his words “he ruled”. But I have to admit, I wondered, did the other kids think the same, or did they ruminate that guys in grade six don’t give out treats and valentines?

I’ll admit I was the one who came home with the box of cards for him, in early January no less. They were, after all, what I considered awesome valentines – national geographic with weird animal facts on the back and a big sucker attached to it. Come one, who wouldn’t want one of those?

I’m also the one who bought the bags of candy and wooden skewers and spent Sunday night making candy kabobs with the kids for their class treats. Though again – I ask, who can turn down one of those babies?

I reasoned that everybody wants free candy, and that if my kid didn’t feel like a dweeb for handing out the valentine’s day loot his mother bought for him, then it was probably okay. But as I lay in bed last night, knowing how the day turned out, I wondered would I be buying a box of cards for him next year?

I’ve never had dork issues growing up. I was lucky enough to stay at the same school, with essentially the same classmates from kindergarten throughout high school. I don’t remember feeling left out, and I always tried to make other people feel included. I just sort of did my own thing, often blended with occasional spurts of feeling special or different, but never really dorky.

I raised my kids much the same way – include others, talk to everyone, do what feels right to you, and don’t worry about being in the ring of the “it” crowd. After all, one true friend is more valuable than fifty false ones.

It worked for me; it worked for my oldest (and now adult) daughter, Heather, and I assumed it would work for my other children as well. And I do believe in doing what works for you. I do believe in resisting the bow to peer-pressure as long and as hard as possible. A good sense of self is the very best gift you can give a child, right?

My almost twelve-year-old son is a lunchtime helper in the kindergarten class. He’s part of the chess club, and on the green (recycling) team. He still kisses me when I drop him off, and is oddly proud of the fact that I’m the volunteer hot dog lady at school. He’s a Star Wars junkie and a self-admitted computer geek in terms of online gaming.

I guess if I stand back and look at the facts, he may well be sitting on the dork side of the fence. Unlike other boys his age, he doesn’t like bravado, has no interest in hockey, and just doesn’t get how snowploughing peers makes you look cool. Frankly, neither do I.

As a mom, I never want my son to feel different. But as a woman, I want to raise a man who will stand up for what he believes in, follow his heart, and not be afraid to do what he wants to do, rather than what “cool” dictates. I guess I should be happy that in today’s society geeks are becoming their own sort of cool, with tv shows like Glee, and the Big Bang Theory ruling the airwaves.

And although I’d never wish a Sheldon, Howard or Raj on anyone, is growing up to be a Leonard so bad?


18 Responses to “Am I raising a dork?”

  1. Dale Long Says:

    I believe there is no such thing as a boring romantic. Sounds like your son isn’t really worried about what the others think, and that’s great! Funny, you should being telling your kids the same we’ve told our girls and it has suited them well.
    Want to know a secret? I still gave out Valentines in grade six and was a Star Wars fans with trading cards and all as well. I felt like a dork from time to time but with that came a great sense of inner balance.

  2. Lisa Says:

    Bravo, very well written. And it sounds like you are doing an excellent job raising your son as he clearly doesn’t have any issues being himself. If he says that he “ruled” then I would take that as the others were probably second guessing themselves for not bringing anything! My two guys don’t kiss me goodbye anymore (they’re both grown adults now) however whenever I leave to travel they always give me a hug and tell me that they love me ~ can’t ask for more that.

    • Hi Lisa

      You’re right, you can’t ask for more than hugs and I love you’s. Time goes too fast though, doesn’t it?

      It’s such a fine line between mothering and smothering…and it gets blurred often enough to make me question myself sometimes. But we do what mom’s do…keep on keeping on, right? Thanks for reading and extra thanks for leaving a comment!

  3. Nadine Says:

    Perhaps the follow up queston to this is – if you asked him, would Sam say he feels like a dork? In your blog you commented that you believe in resisting the bow to peer-pressure and that a good sense of self is the very best thing you can give a child – so it begs the queston, if Sam enjoyed giving out the Valentines and his classmates candy, and didn’t come home saying “mom, I’m never doing that again!!!”, why are you pondering this question. Cause it sounds to me like he has a good sense of self. And for a differnt perspective, don’t worry, when he gets to 15 – that whole peer-pressure thing takes on a whole NEW meaning………..


    • Hi D

      You make a good point, Sam came home feeling great about it. I think it alerted me to the fact that it’s beginning, the pressure to fit in, to be too cool for school. I hope he never wants to stop giving valentines, or giving me a kiss goodbye, though it will come soon enough, I guess. I so don’t want to face 15 year old kids!!! (you’ll help me through it won’t you???)

  4. Norma Bickle Says:

    Noelle that was hilarious. Funny thing is my special valentine (Dad to you) sounds very much like a hockey playing version of the type of man you are talking about. He never worries what people think of his kind and gentle romantic ways. Lucky is the girl who gets your lovely son, Dorks rule !!

  5. Rhonda Says:

    So great that he thought that “he ruled”! So great! We experienced a similar scenario last year but Reid was horrified that she was one of the only ones and did not even consider getting her cards or candy this year! Jaime didn’t even do cards this year, only candy. Weird times….

    I think those shows are popular because so many of us are dorks at heart- we have only just learned to hide it better than when we were in grade 6!

    P.S. – you gotta love a good dork… they grow up to be the best partners,
    I love Leonard!

  6. Do you think any of our husbands believe themselves to be dorks? I don’t know…maybe I’ve told Will enough to have it sink in…lol.

  7. Christina Says:

    Maybe my experience was different than most, but I found that the hardest years for me in school, popularity-wise, were grades 4-6. If he’s in grade 6 and not experiencing a lot of pressure, then I think he’ll be doing ok. It sounds like he’s interested in doing extracurricular stuff, which is great.

    Also, sometimes, staying with the same people year in, year out, is a bad recipe. Going to a new school for junior high and high school really allowed me to start with a clean slate and forget the people who teased me in elementary school.

    • Kids can be so awful sometimes.

      My son is at a new school since last year, and he’s blended in pretty good (which is all they want to do, blend). So far we haven’t had teasing be a problem, though he got new glasses and wore them two or three times and they are stuck in a drawer now. Growing up is tough stuff, but he’ll get through, just we all did…

  8. Cryssa Says:

    You have every right to be proud of your guy. It takes a lot of character to do your own thing. It may not always make for an easy childhood (although it seems to suit your son) but it will make for a promising adulthood.

    • Hi Cryssa

      I agree, I think everyone struggles, no matter how much you go with the grain, so you might as well try to do what feels right. I don’t think anyone would say their childhood was without stuggle of some sort…

  9. Lisa Llamrei Says:

    It sounds to me like Sam already has a good sense of self, so congratulate yourself on doing a good job so far. Remember that, most often, the qualities that can make for a difficult childhood are the very ones needed for a successful adulthood. When I was in school I was the biggest dork in town (probably in several towns), but the ability to really be myself has enabled me to do whatever I wanted to do as an adult.

    P.S. So you’re one of those annoying parents who send candy to school and get my kids all sugared up in time to come home!!

    • Thanks Lisa…I do think he is a pretty great kid, so I’ll give myself a pat for that.

      And yes – you would cringe at how much candy I like to give other people’s children. I’m the Willy Wonka of mothers.

  10. Lisa Llamrei Says:

    PPS Even the girls stop giving out valentine’s by grade 7, so you’re probably going to have to give that up next year. I’m betting it’ll be harder for you than Sam. I was relieved, myself.

  11. To be honest, one less job or thing to buy does have a certain appeal…

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