We've all seen them, the kids who are bullies and the ones who get bullied. The consummate class struggle taking place in class and on the playground. Which one were you a part of? Were you a jock, nerd, geek, spaz or something else? Were you happy when a member of a "lower class" was in your presence, because that meant somebody else was about to be picked on instead of you?
When I grew up, I was a cross-over. I was part band geek, part jock, and part nerd. You could have called me the chameleon, as I easily worked from one group to another. Although secretly, I wanted to be a full-time member of the jock kingdom. Boy, they had it great didn't they? Nobody picked on them, they could easily move in and out of confrontations with teachers and other school's students. They even had the cool summer jobs; they'd work at the auto-parts store or the cool clothing store.
Now we're in the year 2010. Doesn't it seem like the kids today are growing up faster? It almost seems like parents are trying to elevate their kids' status into a higher class of student than they were. They start their kids in sports earlier and obsess over it. They place their kids in advanced classes (what does that say about the non-advanced classes?). They start their kids on instruments earlier and obsess over that too. They even let their kids watch movies they shouldn't watch. I know someone who let their 7 year old see an R rated movie, and it wasn't one of those harmless R rated movies (if there is such a thing), it was pretty hardcore and intense.
It hearkens back to my conservative nature and not wanting anything to change from when I was a kid to today. I'd like my kids to enjoy the kind of childhood I had. My wife and I talk all the time about how we want our kids to enjoy their childhood and be a kid for as long as possible. A prime example is with our oldest, he just turned 8. For his birthday, I told him he could watch Star Wars, not the Clone Wars or the animated stuff, but you know, James Earl Jones' Darth Vadar and Luke and Hans Solo, before Harrison Ford had the scar on his chin. We watched it last week during the Christmas break. He thought it was great, a little scary once or twice, but nothing he couldn't handle.
As a result of this, I know my kid will grow up as part geek and part nerd. Maybe he'll show some promise in athletics, maybe not. The point is, he'll be who he is and we're not going to try to change him. We'll guide his development, we'll protect his youth (as best we can) and we won't pressure him to be something he's not. Even if that means he gets picked on a little bit. Who knows, maybe that'll help develop a little character in the kid. Something I think all kids could use a little more of these days.