"Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one."

"Technology is just a tool. In terms of getting the kids working together and motivating them, the teacher is the most important."

"If you think your teacher is tough, wait until you get a boss."

Bill Gates,
Nerd and founder of Microsoft, and one of the wealthiest men on Earth.

Bill Gates

 

Papa is a Nerd

Dear Kylie and Chase,

How many times have you sat on my lap as I read to you, and then as the years rolled by you read to me? You were gaining the skills necessary to be successful in life. But for us it meant just being together and it was fun. Learning, growing, sharing, and pretending, while preparing for the future.

Cartoon: He Called me a Nerd

However, I clearly remember one spring afternoon, when Kylie was sitting on my lap and talking about school. She was only in second grade, but already her classmates were teasing her because she could read better than most of them, and she got good grades. And the teasing hurt her.

Kylie - We read many stories together, but I am not sure we read The Ugly Duckling, the story of a large egg that was somehow placed in the nest of a batch of duckling eggs. There are two lines from that story that are important: "But the poor duckling, who had crept out of his shell last of all, and looked so ugly, was bitten and pushed and made fun of, not only by the ducks, but by all..." And like the ugly duckling, nerds sometimes are not the most beautiful and they can be easily made fun of in American classrooms.

But the story continues: The Ugly Ducking "bent his head down to the surface of the water, and awaited death. But what did he see in the clear stream below? His own image; no longer a dark, gray bird, ugly and disagreeable to look at, but a graceful and beautiful swan... He now felt glad at having suffered sorrow and trouble, because it enabled him to enjoy so much better all the pleasure and happiness around him; for the great swans swam round the new-comer, and stroked his neck with their beaks, as a welcome."

Kylie and Chase - have fun as you grow; but be strong. Learn and never stop learning. My motto in life is "Strength Through Knowledge." Yes, there will be "sorrow and trouble" for the nerds, but also for the beautiful. However, if you keep on being who you are, and endure the hardships in life that come your way; if you keep learning, and if you work hard, and if you are a dependable nerd, there is a very good chance you will be successful and happy in life. And hopefully in the process, like the Ugly Duckling, you will come away with another important lesson: you will realize how important it is to treat everyone with kindness and respect, no matter how beautiful or tall or popular or how smart they may be.

Love, Papa