Today I was talking with my younger son, Jak. He just loves the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles right now. Like, he’s obsessed with them. It doesn’t matter which version, as long as he is watching Mikey, Leo, Donnie, and Raph. So, I was talking to him about when I was a kid and how I used to love the Ninja Turtles as well. I was telling him how I got the coolest parachute pants for school one year. They were neon green and had a picture of the 4 Turtles on one of the legs. I loved those pants. I wouldn’t be caught dead in them today, but back then, I loved them. Then I told them how the Ninja Turtle “Coming out of Their Shells” Tour came to Salt Lake City, and how my mom took me to go see a bunch of guys in turtle costume pretend to be rock stars (yes that really happened). He was amazed that I liked something he likes, and pretty excited too. That’s when it hit me. Geeks make the best dads. I believe this statement is true, and I am going to give you 5 reasons right now.
1. It is easy to find some common ground with your kids. When we found out that our first child was going to be a boy, I was so excited. I couldn’t wait to teach him all about Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Super Heroes, Ninja Turtles, etc. It was going to be epic. One of the first things I bought our first little monster was a Spider-Man teething toy. Johnny loved it. It was soft, and made rattle noises and it had flat rubbery hands on feet for him to chew on. As Johnny got older, I loved buying him his first action figures or his first super hero movie or his first Superman shirt. My wife realized very quickly that the reason I was so excited to have a boy was so I had an excuse to buy all of this stuff that would normally be kids’ stuff. I do that to this day. That is a huge benefit to being a geeky dad. I am into the same stuff my kids are into, so I can easily find common ground with them. Especially this day and age when so much of the stuff we loved as kids is coming back. I love buying the super hero figures and plain with them with my boys, or girls. I love sitting down to watch movies with them, because they are the same movies I like. This is a huge plus.
2.It is easy to teach your kids about diversity. Think about it, as a geek I can draw on the worlds of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, Star Trek, Tolkien, Doctor Who and so on. In each of these examples, there are a lot of people who are different, and they find ways to work together. Raising my kids in a world where a Klingon can serve with honors aboard a Federation starship makes it easier to explain why the kid that looks different from them isn’t really that different. They are used to seeing stories and worlds where everybody looks different, but everybody is the same and equal. It’s a good message for them to grow up with and it is easy to teach when you’re a geek.
3. You don’t take life too seriously. Keeping one foot in the world of fantasy makes it easier to not take life too seriously sometimes. Don’t get me wrong, as a father or mother, there is a lot you need to take seriously. Providing for your kids is a big responsibility, so you can’t let your escape into fantasy distract from things like having a steady job so you can pay the bills. Where this skill comes in handy is for the little stuff, that isn’t really that important. Like coming home to bed and your bedroom destroyed. Why? Because your son was just playing Marvel guys on your bed. As a geeky dad, you can look at that and jump right in “I get to be Colossus this time!” Normally, a dad could freak out at this moment, but not a geeky dad. He just joins the fun. Your kids will learn that they can relate to you, because you have always related to them. Playing on the bed may be silly at the time, but when that relationship grows and matures and they come to you with the really big stuff later, you’ll be glad you were a geek dad.
4. You feed their imagination. There is a lot of garbage out there that is somehow designed to kill your kids’ imagination. I used to think that imagination was only important if you wanted to write lots of cool stories or make pretty art or things like that. Imagination is so much more than that. It is the ability to see the world, not just as it is, but how you could make it. It is the seed of invention and problem solving, and our kids are losing it everyday. It all starts with the games they play as little ones. They see the world with wonder and amazement and this causes them to imagine ways to make the real world like what they see. The other day, my 2 oldest kids went to go see a Super Deafy movie, which had a super hero in it played by a deaf actor. At the end of the movie, Super Deafy made an appearance in the theater. My son and daughter were very excited and got their picture taken with him. A couple of days later, Jak saw the picture and said to my wife “I knewed it. I knewed that Super Heroes existed in our world.” That’s how a kid sees the world. That’s imagination, and as a geeky dad, you get it and you can feed that imagination, and help your kids to grow up to be the next innovator and problem solver.
5. You know what it’s like to be different. Chances are, you might have a kid who is a little different, whatever that difference is. As a geek, you have been there, and you know how it feels. You’ll know how to be there for them when the other kids might pick on them a little bit, and you’ll know how to comfort them when the kids are just mean. You’ll know that they don’t want to hear your stories about how you suffered through and toughened up or that someday it will all be better. No, you’ll know that all they really want is to come home and be hugged and have someone look at them and love them for who they are. You’ll know that all they really need is to know that you are there for them and in their corner. You’ll know that because that’s all you really needed. You had that person who helped you along the way, that you looked up to. You’ll know that your kids see you as that person, their super heroes, and you’ll live up to it, because as a geek, when you became a dad you realized that it was a great power and privilege you had been blessed with, and you heard Uncle Ben’s words: “With great power, comes great responsibility.”
So all you single ladies that read this blog, if you’re looking for a man to be your mate and the father of your children, then look for a geek, because they make the best dads.