My son is a Nerd. Full on science, technology and engineering Nerd. And I couldn’t be prouder.
But I am a Clueless Dad. A liberal arts majoring, marketing and communications professional that hasn’t the foggiest idea of how a rocket ship takes off. (I still believe that it has something to do with a NASA engineer lighting a fuse at the bottom of a rocket like in the Marvin the Martian cartoons). And though I love my son’s enthusiasm and passion for all things Nerdy, I can honestly say that I rarely understand what the heck he’s talking about most of the time.
For instance, the other night, he spent a half-hour telling us about why crickets are the food of the future and will be the perfect meal for long-distance space travel. Yes, crickets. Has something to do with them being high in protein, easily reproduced and lightweight. That’s just one more in a long list of reasons why I won’t be traveling to Mars anytime soon.
I must admit that I truly appreciate his passion for these things and I love hearing him carry on and on about science and engineering as if it were me talking about my favorite football team. But I know that in the not so distant future, his level of thinking will be far beyond my own and I won’t be able to add too much to the conversation. It may have already started. I mean crickets?!?
It’s hard being a parent, especially when we’re expected to know everything about everything. But soon enough they will realize that you don’t have all of the answers.
The good news is that young minds like this are typically self-motivated. And that’s what’s great about Nerds: they’re naturally curious. With Nerds, we don’t need to know all of the answers. We just need to fan the flames of their curiosity and point him in the right direction to find those answers.
So don’t fret. If you’re a Clueless Parent just like me, there are tons of resources at your fingertips.
- Books – hands down, the fastest and easiest way to get your Nerd up and running on new things is to get him a book on the subject. But make sure that the book is appropriate for his or her comprehension level. I’ve been overly ambitious with my own kids and they lost interest quickly because much of the writing was over their heads. Stay within their skill level.
- Online – Obviously, because you’re reading this online, you realize that online is a great source. There are plenty of websites that help your kid get their Nerd on: Science.com, PopularScience.com, NASA.gov, ASAPScience.com and more. The list goes on and on and on. YouTube has plenty of fantastic channels that breakdown science, technology and engineering in an easy-to-learn format. Look for a posting on this soon.
- Mentors – Find your Nerd a fellow Nerd friend. Our neighbor just so happens to be a Robotics Professor at a nearby university and he’s been the perfect mentor for our son.
- Television – Turn off Nickelodeon and The Disney Channel and tune into better television like The Science Channel, Discovery and National Geographic. Your Nerd will learn so much more, and maybe, just maybe, you will too.
How do you inspire your own Nerd into learning more? Write us and let us know some of the creative ways you overcome being a Clueless Parent.