Yesterday my oldest, Lincoln, who turns 5 in a couple of weeks really surprised me with something he created, enough that it pulled me back to a Geek Dad Report to write about it.
Nothing makes you feel more proud than when you get home from a long day at work and you’re greeted with a giant smile by your budding offsring. It’s not just a happy smile, it’s the kind of smile that is backed with a bunch of pride. It’s the way they stand straight, the excitement, the “Come look what I did!!!!!!!!!” Yes, they would require that many exclamation points in real life. So, what did my dinosaur loving, Paleontologist job seeking 4 year old do?
Then he charged me $500 to tour it and told me how to navigate it after I paid. Thank goodness for pretend money At least I got a map out of it.
I stepped into their play room looked down on the ground at his little project, back to him and it didn’t take me more than an instant to get down on me knees to his eye level, tell him how awesome it was and that I was proud of him. Commence lots of hugs and kisses. That super proud look on his face was well earned. He was honest from the get go when I asked how he came up with this, he told me that his Gra (my wife’s mom) told him he could make his own museum. So he got a bunch of wood boards, set up his dinosaurs by species, got out some books from his nearly whole row on our book shelf that is full of dinosaur related reading. Found pages with the right dinosaurs on them, and set them near the specific species display.
I’m glad that all those times we’ve taken our kids to various museums, where various levels of meltdowns unfold when we’re leaving because someone couldn’t get that really expensive thing from the gift shop, weren’t in vain. He was paying attention enough to realize that just putting things on display wasn’t enough, that he took it to the next level to explain what it was you were looking at with pictures and words.
This has shown me that even if you take your kids to some kind of museum or something of the like and it seems like it was a total loss in the end (typically at the literal end where those damn gift shops are) those crazy kid brains are absorbing everything. A lot of parents say that when your kid shows an interest in something even if you think it’s a terrible career choice or bad future investment; there is nothing that should stop you from further engaging them in that interest. My son loves Dinosaurs and Animals, my wife and I made a pact when we had kids that not every toy can be bought, but if they want a book that wouldn’t destroy the budget we’ll buy it. I’ve learned more about Dinosaurs in the last 4 years of my life than…ever. Every trip to the library each week, he comes home with such a mixed assortment of animal books (Snails, Lynxes, Blue Whales, Big Cats, Lobsters and a frigging Animal Almanac this week) that we’re all learning about fun stuff at story time.
My 2 year old daughter has an obsession with Pink and Princesses, I think she’s the most in for a big downer unless we move to England and start courting Royalty.
Here is my Geek Parental suggestion of the week, take your kids to museums, regardless of size and stature. Hit up your national/state parks and historic sites in the area. They’re usually damn cheap and there is nothing wrong with being more informed about local and national history. You never know what your kid is going to take an interest in, even if it’s a job that in your head you know won’t make them insanely rich and successful. We should want more from our kids than that. Also, make books and the attainment of them about whatever your kid is interested in a top priority. Make their little sponge brains soak up everything, read it to them if they can’t read. Heck, if they can read make them read it to you. If you’re like me there is still a lot to learn even as an adult, show your kid that learning new things is a life journey. When your kid grows up, you’ll know for damn sure that they’ll be doing something they love, that’s all that really matters. Plus, most SCIENCE! professions are a doctorate profession, so you can boast about my Dr. Kid and they can dig up fossils in the desert instead of the sandbox in your backyard.