On the other hand, strong students are often proud of their “geek” status. It is a mark of distinction for them. They even break their geekness into categories—a math geek, a video game geek, an engineering geek. But, many of these students have a side to their lives that does not fit neatly into a geek category. A website I ran across recently named The Secret Life of Scientists (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/secretlife/) explores the cool side of a number of scientists.
This site has short vignettes about real scientists who have a pretty cool “secret” side, such as the primatologist who was a cheerleader for the Miami Dolphins, the evolutionary anthropologist who is also a stand-up comedian, and the neuroscientist who is also an actress. Okay, you probably know the actress as
Amy Farrah Fowler so her cool side is not so secret, but most of the others are not as well known outside of their area of scientific study. The point is; people are living exciting lives who find scientific investigation to be the most exciting part of their lives.
There is a thrill to learning, investigating, discovering, and problem-solving that some of our children want to deny, suppress, or devalue. Unfortunately, our conversations with our children sometimes reinforce that devaluation. Our conversations with our kids need to include more than grades, getting chores done, and how tired or frustrated we are with work, school, bosses, or the politics of the day.
There is so much of our world that is worthy of awe. Do our conversations with our children help them to see, to discuss, to reflect on that awe? If not, maybe we need to rediscover that awe for ourselves and then share it with our kids.