Sunday, October 21, 2007


Georgie told us the other day that people at her school are amazed at her inability to recognize pop cultural references. "What is Abercrombie?" she asked one girl, whose jaw dropped. "Georgie, you really don't know what Abercrombie is? I must teach you," said the girl. Another time she drew laughs by having a vague notion that Michael Jackson was a basketball player.

It seems that no one has made her feel bad about it. The teasing has been good natured so far. I asked G if she wished she did know all of those things. If she wished she had t.v. and hip parents who frequented the mall. She made a face. "No way," she said. "I like it. I think it's kind of funny."

The other day I was chatting with another mom while we waiting during dance class and she said, "I look around me and I think, 'My job is to raise nerds.'" I think so too, but I admit that sometimes I have qualms. Am I keeping my children from fitting in? Lidia sometimes became frustrated with her classmates last year because they would start talking about My High School Musical and wouldn't shut up about it. It was either that, she says, or Hanna Montana.

"Both shows are so idiotic," Lidia grumbled.

"Have you seen them?" I asked.

"No, but I can tell just from what the other kids say that the shows are so dumb."

I had to smile when she said that because she sounded just like me. But then I frowned. That's not necessarily a good thing.

Another mom I know gets a subscription to Teen for her daughter so, the mom says, her daughter will know who is who and be able to hold conversations with the other kids at school. Conversations? We must have a different idea about what constitutes conversation. Or, I should better say, what constitutes worthwhile conversation. I picked up a copy of Teen a few months ago at a doctor's office. From what she picked up from that issue, a young girl could converse about whether or not it was a good idea to "do it" with her boyfriend of three months, and if so, what options she had for protection. No thank you.

Where am I going with this? Well, I have no problem raising nerds. I'm a nerd and so is my husband. But sometimes I worry that I've gone too far. I worry that at some point G will get teased about it in a way that makes her feel bad. I tell myself that of course that will happen. Everyone gets teased about something. But I worry that I have gone too far in my rejection of pop culture and as a result my kids will always feel like aliens.


dtv said...

It's kinda weird that none of us "kids" have TV now. It's not like I do super productive things instead, but I'm glad not to have it. Being a classic nerd, I'm all for you raising nerdlings.

athena said...

yeah, tell me about it, pascale loves watching hanna montana. francoise gives her a hard time about her watching crap. i have to agree with her. olivier and i are working hard with steering pascale's obsession. three cheers to raising nerds!

ave said...

Here in "Hippieville", people look shocked and disgusted if you do let your children participate in pop culture, it is considered worse then liking Bush. The other day I recoiled when a mother at the library said that her daughter was going to be a Bratz doll for Halloween. Nasty. We watched the wonderful world of Disney on Saturday nights, and other fairly innocent programing. I used to sneak in soaps while Mum did the dishes when I was only 5, but even those soaps weren't as bad as today's night time t.v. choices. JW and I do miss PBS, but we can always catch up with Netflix. I'm all for keeping children innocent, they won't regret it, and neither will we.

Cocoa said...

A play on another saying, "Here's to nerds, May we know them, May we be them, May we raise them!" In all reality, I don't think we're missing much by not knowing everything about pop culture.

Mama Ava said...

Calandria, I thought about this very thing when you said G. was going to her school. Having worked at that very school, I was appalled at how label-conscious kids were. Many of my students were low-income (relative to the general population there) and wore Old Navy clothes and were often put down for it. I loved working there professionally, but had such a problem with the sense of entitlement that so many kids seemed to have.

G. sounds like she's doing fine and is comfortable with herself. At some point, I suppose she'll have to decide how much she wants to go with the pop culture flow. As kids get older they have to make some of those decisions for themselves and figure out their place in life. She's blessed to have such a strong faith community and family that will reinforce a certain set of values, and accept her and love her if she decides she wants to learn more about pop culture stuff. Some things, at least for us, will never be a part of our kids lives--shopping at Abercrombie (too expensive unless they buy used), or spring break in Cancun (only after I've had parts of my brain removed). They are simply values for us that we can't afford or accept. Other things may not be what I would choose but they may.

It sounds like G. is getting enough of what she needs in life where she most needs it. Hooray for you!

Calandria said...

Yesterday Bernie came home from school and said that one friend just returned from Disney World and the other from Hawaii. The one who went to Disney World has been there (according to Bernie) seven times. Many children in that class seem to be from wealthy families. That's what I was doing in B------- the other day. One of the moms was having a get together (although turned out it was cancelled.)

I was going to comment more but it's getting so long I'll just post it.

ave said...

I'll say this for Disney, it was really fun and I would do it again, and I'm glad I didn't have to pay for it!

Sumpy Gump said...

I know this is an old post, but I haven't come and read all these older ones lately.

I just want to say, that I was raised a "nerd", and love it. As I look back, I realize that I was given the opportunity to spend time with more interesting things, and was creative with the things I did.

My mom never let us watch cartoons, for which now I am grateful. Things I did instead, were things like write my own comic book stories, build forts in the backyard, create computer programs that simulate the planets in the solar system (complete with moons and correct distances/sizes), memorize the capitals of all the countries in the world, learn foreign languages, make up my own language, write songs, create my own musical instruments, make up a play and have my parents perform it, etc. etc. etc.

In addition, being a nerd is not bad. Being popless is not a problem in my book. You either can be a pop culture sheep or a thinker. Your children are thinkers, and I think you should be proud of it.

Sumpy Gump said...

Oh, one more thing...

Don't let Georgie's friend teach her what Abercrombie is. I am sure that won't be a problem though.