In the past year, and a bit to my surprise, my daughter has emerged as a gamer. It started last summer when she became obsessed with Minecraft videos, which eventually grew into a habit of playing the game herself. Then recently she decided she was interested in the Sims and bought the basic game with her saved allowance money. Many of our conversations recently have been about real life dynamics inspired by her interaction with Sims characters. She’s wanted to know more about what it was like when I was pregnant and my experience taking care of her when she was a baby. We’ve also had involved conversations about relationship dynamics and work-family balance. It’s been fun to see her grow as a result of her gaming.
Given how much of her free time she spends on her computer, I was stunned a few weeks ago when she told me that she wasn’t very good with technology. At the time we were working on a school project involving MS Word, and I was quick to point out that she just hadn’t used the program much. I was distressed that she would even think that she’s not computer savvy, and I assured her that someone who designs their own skins for Minecraft shows an aptitude for technology. Fortunately a conversation we had yesterday reassured me. She’s taken to wearing her glasses more frequently, and as I was in her room cleaning we starting talking about it. She concluded by saying that they make her look like a geek and that she’s proud of that. She continued by saying that she would correct anyone who said that being a geek isn’t cool, demonstrating her speech in front of the mirror. I enthusiastically agreed with her.
In an interesting parallel in my life, the students in my Python for Programmers class also seem to have a great deal of geek pride. More than the novice programmers I usually teach, they’ve clearly adopted an identity that embraces all that goes with computing including some of the more stereotypical aspects. Their enthusiasm has rekindled my enjoyment of Python, which is great fun.