Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Nerd Powers Activate

Slice of Life is a weekly post from the Two Writing Teachers.
Slide your slice into Tuesday's comments at Two Writing Teachers!
My son sits across a six-foot desk from me in my studio slash office. In front of a wall of books  art-ifacts, paint, partial projects, old books for collage, canvases  dominoes--the ephemera of spare moments stolen to craft and make art. I love having Collin across the desk. He writes on his computer or does homework or plays on Nerdcrafteria and I write or work or watch Ze Frank chase happy. I especially love sitting across from Collin during Project for Awesome because we work together with Nerdfighteria to like, favorite and comment on Project for Awesome videos.

Comments & funds raised as of 10:33 p.m. 12/18/12
As we're watching the live show, we laugh, we tell Vlogbrothers stories. We joke. We comment. We talk.
Yesterday he told me about something that happen in class. The story went like this (pretend Collin is talking now):

Yesterday I finished my exam early so I got a book to read. I was reading for about 20 minutes and So and So and this other girl in class looked at me. Then they looked at each other. Then so and so said "Hey, Collin, what page are you on?"
I replied, "27."
"Man!" So and So said, "I wouldn't get that far in two days! I could never read like that." Then So and So turned back to the girl and they shared a laughing moment.  I  heard nerd or geek tossed between them.
"But you know what, Mom? When people call me a nerd or a geek at school. They think they are insulting me, but because of Nerdfighteria, I take it as a compliment."

Then he grinned. My heart... We talked about So and So's talents on the basketball court and how everyone has different talents. I praised my reader and we got back to commenting on Project for Awesome videos and laughing with Hank Green, whose shout out to me during the live stream last night lit my son up. That was a pink stone Project for Awesome moment. My heart lifted with the power of Nerdfighteria. Nerdfighteria has made Collin comfortable in his own skin in ways even many of high school juniors are not. Amazing. Incredible. True.

So, fast forward to today. I spent 8 hours commenting on Project for Awesome videos. From early morning to through every class period. I left school to go to my son's basketball game. Then the plan was to hustle home and get back to commenting together.

At the game,  So and So's Mom came up to the top row to sit next to me. (There are only 4 rows of bleachers, so it's not like a high school gym or a stadium or anything). She said, "You should have heard what my son (So and So) said about Collin last night."

Unprompted, she told me the same story Collin had shared. So and So's story to his Mom ended with him saying "Collin is amazing. I could never read that way... not with months and months of practice." Like me she had the talent conversation with her son.

I told her the ending I heard from Collin. She said, "Oh no. So and So truly was amazed by Collin. He has a geek brother and he's written about geek power in class. He doesn't dis the geek." We had a long conversation (it stretched through all four quarters of the game). I told her about Project for Awesome and how Collin identifies with the community and how yes, he is an incredible reader. I told her how we love to watch her son So and So play ball. He is elegant and diligent on the court and I can think of no other sixth grader that is. I walked away with a new understanding of something that really troubled me yesterday.

After the game, Collin and I talked about it. He was wide-eyed to hear what So and So's mom said. We talked about how it's easy to think we know what other people are thinking or why other people are laughing--it's not always about us.

they lost the basketball game today, but I'm chalking a win for Project for Awesome and Nerdfighteria.

Thanks, Hank.


  1. It's always about perspective!

  2. I love this post so much.

    As a gifted resource teacher (and the mother to two boys who are already geeklings), I firmly believe that we need to teach kids the power to self-identify and find pride in who they are. Thankfully, the labels "geek" and "nerd" are so much less destructive than they were when I was a kid. My own sons decorated the Christmas tree last night and placed their favorite geeky ornaments in places of pride on the tree.

  3. We work on individual power all the time, Lee Ann. What a great story about your son, and the perceived hurt that really wasn't true. Sometimes it is, though, so I'm glad for things that help like your Project for Awesome. Happy Holidays to you & the family!