Saturday, July 16, 2011

Changing Perspectives

I saw this: Why I'm Raising My Son To Be A Nerd, on Facebook this morning and it got me thinking about a conversation Greg and I had the other day.  You see I have been doing this for a while.  I wish I could say that I recognized the importance of playing up my son's intelligence over his athleticism on my own but I was kinda forced into it.  You see boys with asperger's are often a bit, well, uncoordinated.  I had my baby boy and bought him cute little baseball outfits and tiny toy gloves and soccer balls and thought about how fun it will be to sit at his high school football and basketball games, to watch him at little league as he learns to be the little all star my brothers and husband were.

Then we put him into soccer.

My poor son hated it!  He cried on the field, sat and played with dirt, ate the dandelions, threw screaming tantrums, HATED it.  I thought "ok well, soccer isn't his game, besides he is barely 5 lots of kids his age aren't into the sports yet."

So we put him in t-ball.

Slightly better but he couldn't get the basics down.  He couldn't swing the bat hard, (sometimes his swing was barely one handed), couldn't run, the sun in his eyes made him simply walk off the field because he didn't like being out there.  Doesn't look like we need to worry about all-stars.

Ethan tends to not like anything he isn't instantly good at so sports have kind of fallen on the wayside.  And to tell you the truth as I have gotten to know my son, I don't even mind.

Ethan is amazing.  He is so incredibly brilliant.  I laugh every time we tell another therapist, psychologist, teacher, principal, etc., that he is REALLY smart and they look at me with that "yeah-every-parent-thinks-their-kid-is-super-smart" look and then, after meeting with Ethan they try to convince me that I don't get how truly intelligent he really is.

He gets things so completely so quickly and so easily.  I love that his teachers have been able to use him as kind of a teacher science project: "How much can I throw at this kid before it is finally over his head?"  At one point in kindergarten he decided to memorize all of the bones of the body... because the anatomy book was interesting to him.  (Not so fun when he explained the anatomical reasons why his 3 year old sister was not capable of becoming a mother yet... :S )

He can tell you the entire history of the Apple corporation.  When each product was introduced, how long it was sold for, how much it was sold for.  Was it a success or a failure?  What did the new version change from the old one?  How was it developed?  Who worked on it?  If you have ever wondered any of these things, Ethan has your answer.

The other day I came in and Ethan was on the Mac and hurried and slammed it shut when I walked up.  As a mother of a little boy in this day and age I was immediately concerned what youtube was introducing my baby to.  I opened the Mac and found that my then 9 year old was comparing and contrasting the computer engineering and programming programs at U of A and BYU.  Yep, planning college...  He not only loves the Apple corporation but is constantly planning the ways that he will some day take them over and buy them out with his even better programs and hardware.  Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, watch your backs because Ethan is coming for ya!

I have learned to cheer him on in this arena.  He shines here.  He is an all-star all the way.  He is going to be so successful and amazing that if he decides one day that he is interested in baseball, or soccer, or basketball, or football or whatever the sport may be, he can just buy the team he likes.

Am I still gonna sit on the sidelines and watch him as he swims, or runs, or jumps, or throws, or kicks, his little heart out and cheer until I am hoarse?  You'd better believe it!  Am I going to be disappointed if he decides that world isn't for him?  Heck no, because my kid is amazing in all of the best ways already!  So I agree with the article I linked to above, we need more nerds.  We need people to run this world and make it easier and better for us,  and the nerds of the world are the ones with the true power to do it.