Here are a few of my favorite things: Nintendo, Penny Arcade, The Legend of Zelda, Mario, Pokemon, Harvest Moon, Fallout, Dungeons and Dragons, books, dice, Professor Layton, Shadow of the Colossus, Minecraft, and so much more. I'm going to talk a lot about video games, I sincerely hope you don't mind.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Being a Geek Parent: Year One

About a year ago, my wife gave birth to our firstborn son and we began a new chapter in our lives.

Obligatory picture of said brood: check 
Obligatory picture of said brood: check

It was a surreal experience and I could not truly grasp how much it would come to impact my life for the better. Because not only did I become a parent, but I also became something else. A relatively new brand of dad known only as the “Geek Parent.”

Yes, all my years of comic book reading and video game playing had not deterred my lovely spouse from me and together we brought into this world a beautiful, nerdy offspring. I'd become the kind of father most likely to play Super Mario with his son or teach him the mantra of the Green Lantern Corps. It was something I had come to expect, but what I hadn't counted on was how being a father would change my geekiness itself. How it would refine and change my perspective on everything I held dear and near to my two-timelord-hearts.

So for all of you expecting gamers and prego nerds, here's a bit of a heads up on some of the things I've learned in my first year as a geek parent.

Your Friends And Family Do Half Your Geek Introduction For You

When your child first comes into the world, you're going to feel the impulse to gather all the geeky related things you can for your darling Level 1 Human. Superhero onesies, Star Wars Pacifiers, the works. But what you'll soon come to find out is that the people closest to you are going to be more than willing to help you in this. Your loved ones, knowing how geeky you are and caring for their new relative, will shower you in enough geeky goodies that it will be impossible for your child to not be exposed to your interests. It's really awesome, actually, because when all of their clothes are options of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, Ninja Turtles, there's never a shortage of geek that's adorned onto your child.

You'll Learn Time Management And Which Of Your Geek Loves Most Deserve Your Free Time

It kind of goes without saying, but children take up your time. I'm being completely serious when I tell you that you're going to not have a lot of free time to yourself. But while some might get gloomy about this, it also helps you prioritize what interests you really care about. No more mindless wandering on reddit, no sir/madam, you're going to be crazy focused on what you really want to do. Want to finish that fantasy novel? Organize a new Magic deck? Complete the final campaign in the latest installment of your favorite video game? You're going to be more motivated than ever to do it! Because now you have a little one that depends on your time and attention, you're going to be less inclined to waste your free time on idle interests. So like a geek lightning rod, your true interests will come to focus and you'll be a better for it in the end.

Your Geeky Upbringing Will Not Be The Same As Your Child's, But It Can Be Similar

There was a lot that happened in your life to bring you to the wondrous form of nerd you are today. For me, it was the combination of the Frieza Saga, “The Spider-man Animated Series,” and lots and lots of video games. And while all those are well and good for me back when I was growing up, some of it might sadly be dated for me to expose my son to. Sure, I could attempt to recreate my own childhood for him, have him play on the N64 or gather old Pokemon cards for him to trade. But it wouldn't hold the same magic as it did then because that was the past, and geek future is moving forward. He's got to experience his own moments on the road to geekdom, ones that are better fit to the times he is raised in.

But that doesn't mean that you can't share anything with your child. If you want to get your kid into D&D, then by all means, do it. It's a part of who you are and even if it's dated to your time, your child will still take interest in it because it's something you can share together. Which leads into my last point....

Your Excitement To Share Your Passions With Your Child Will Reignite Old Flames And Bring You Closer

Being a geek, in its truest form, is about finding joy in something. Whether it's movies, video games, or whatever, it's all about having passion in something. And when you can share that passion with your new reason for living, it only enhances your interests. Suddenly, you'll be racing to think of all the things you want to introduce to your child. Old books you loved, video games worth talking about and board games that demand playing. You'll remember a lot of things you used to love in your pursuit to bring it to the attention of your loved one. Because now you have someone new whom you can bring your joy to and have them become just as invested as you are.

Not only will this make you both happier, but it will also bring you closer together as a family unit. A geek family is a happy family because you're united in a common interest.

So there you have it. This is only the tip of the things you'll learn as a geek parent and of the joys you'll experience along the way. It'll be a trying journey at times, but it will ultimately bring you to a happier place of togetherness and serenity between you and your little one. Because being a geek parent isn't just about telling your kids all the comic trivia you know. It's about presenting your passion to someone you love and watching in wonder as they take your hand and join you on the nerdy path.


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