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Am I raising a dork? February 15, 2011

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