I have finally admitted this week that it is one of the deep desires of my heart for my children to grow up to be nerds. There is an important distinction between nerdiness and intelligence. I'm aiming for nerdiness. I don't want my kids to be so smart that school is boring and feels pointless to them. I don't want them to have unnaturally high IQs that cause social convention to completely elude them. It would be nice if they were just slightly smarter than average. Just smart enough to get a scholarship. That would be the perfect amount of intelligence.
Wherever my kids fall on the IQ scale, I do hope that they will enjoy some intellectual pursuits. I want them to enjoy learning new things. I want them to be curious about how things work and then figure it out. I hope that they grow up to enjoy libraries and museums. I hope they will read frequently. I want them to have a decent knowledge of the classics and be able to understand an allusion to Greek mythology. If they would occasionally make their own references that would be even better. At the very least I hope that they will learn to differentiate among elusion, allusion, and illusion.
I want them to watch the news and know where Crimea is. Or if they don't know, I want them to care enough to find out. I hope that they never vote in a presidential election only to be surprised to find out that the popular vote does not determine the next executive of our country. I hope that they have musical proclivities and know the difference between tonic and dominant tones. I would love it if they could appreciate the artistry of a well executed key change.
My desire to turn my kids into nerds hit a high point this week. I enjoy reading to my kids. They have favorite stories that they sometimes request, but I noticed that often they don't care what I'm reading to them. They just like to have some time to sit in my lap and hear my voice. If there are pictures involved they will sit quietly for a very long time. This observation reminded me of a book that I used when I was teaching high school. I used to check it out of the library every year when it was time to teach the American Revolution. I decided that I must own this book and start frequently reading it to my children. Because, if they don't care what I'm reading to them, it might as well be the Declaration of Independence.
The book is out of print, but I tracked down a copy. It is the actual text of the Declaration of Independence, and each phrase is illustrated. My book arrived in the mail a few days ago, and I am unreasonably excited about it. The day it arrived I saw my three year old pull it off the shelf and start flipping though the pages. My inner History teacher is overjoyed.