What does it mean to be a nerd?

Screenshot 2016-07-21 at 2.37.20 PM

I entered a G/T class in fourth grade and quickly understood what it meant to be a nerd.  Unfortunately, I was one.  I bucked that image as soon as I started junior high and didn’t look back.

Today, however, my teenage daughter would definitely call me a nerd and I embrace that label. I get excited about perfect-looking avocados when I cut them open, fun new Chrome extensions, and writing blog posts on airplanes.  

I can sit and talk with someone about teaching, leadership, educational technology, writing or books for as long as we have time (if they are interesting, that is).  I get excited when that person has a similar passion for life and wants to share it with me.  I was practically bouncing up and down when a friend asked me to explain the Chromebooks that her children will be getting through school next year.  I may get a bit emblazoned when discussing some local leadership practices that go directly against what is best for students and teachers.  Do those things make me a nerd?

How about these?

  • I make up silly songs to make my son laugh.  
  • I use words like “rad” to make my daughter roll her eyes.
  • I take pictures of perfectly-ripened avocados.
  • I read picture books to kids using silly voices because it’s more fun for me.
  • I read.  A lot.  And not always thought-provoking nonfiction. (or hardly ever actually)
  • I love to play board games. And card games (especially Euchre and Cribbage).
  • I like math (well only Algebra-type math. Trig is not fun math, and no one can convince me otherwise)
  • I wear a helmet when I ride my bike.
  • I have living room dance parties to hip hop from the 90s.
  • I say things like, “Look at the sky. Isn’t it beautiful today?” to my kids who are so wonderful that they always look and agree.

I could go on, and probably get even nerdier if that is even the correct term. I’m not so sure. It seemed right when I started the post, but now other words are resonating more with me, like

  • Passionate
  • Intelligent
  • Fun
  • Goofy
  • Aware

Disparaging labels are flung too freely these days – often we are the ones using them about ourselves. And while I’ll still jokingly call myself a nerd when the occasion calls for it (because I own that, people), I need to also embrace my awesomeness. If not for myself, then to be a good model for my children who are always watching and listening.  But really, for myself, too.


One Comment

  • I loved this and could relate to so many things, especially the trig. (Ugh) and telling my kids how beautiful the sky looks. Great Nerds think alike and I embrace that!