Let’s Hear it for the Nerds

Adorable at this age... and beyond?

A defining cultural quality of the American life is the love and obsession most of us have for sports.  It influences our playdates, our children’s schedules, their school life, their hope for a scholarship… and then once they have (hopefully) made it to the adult world, it influences their leisure time and social relationships.  Sports are not to blame for the dominance they hold over the American psyche, but the lack of true support we have culturally, as a nation, for all things education is.

In a recent riveting post by a CNN contributing writer, LZ Granderson, many of these cultural qualities are described in a humoristic,  yet poignant way.  Here are some of his wise-guy (pardon the pun) thoughts:

“At times, my son gets concerned that his bookish qualities may interfere with his social life. I just remind him that in the heart of hard economic times, 33 of 50 states increased the amount spent on prisons while decreasing dollars spent on K-12 and higher education. So while he’s worrying about being cool, the job market is getting smaller and more competitive and our government is preparing to send more people to jail.

We don’t believe in the value of education, culturally — we just like to say we do because as citizens of an industrialized nation, we’re supposed to. But we can tell our children that school is important until we’re blue in the face, they’re not stupid.

They see the loudest applause is for the kids on the field. They know teachers are paid poorly and don’t drive fancy cars. They know people plan Super Bowl parties but mock the National Spelling Bee.

In other words, they see the hypocrisy, and we can’t expect society to correct itself.

If we want to have any lasting influence on the way our kids approach education — the way future generations approach education — then we have to grab our pom-poms and paint our faces and celebrate intellectual curiosity with the same vigor we do their athletic achievements.”

Couldn’t have said it any better than that, and I bet you found yourself smiling a bit or nodding along with his well-written assessment of something very ‘American.’

So, don’t avoid the baseball field or the basketball court this 4th of July weekend.  Just remember to smile and pat your kid on the back if you are lucky enough to find him hit the sack at the end of a sports-filled day with a hard-to-put-down novel.

To read LZ Granderson’s article in full, please visit: http://m.cnn.com/primary/_Nt34j0-iv2V0KtpAU#page2


  1. Very well written and so true!

  2. Great article. As much as I love sports, and I think that many people in various cultures do, too. I have found that there are other pursuits which are just as worthy and invigorating. So…we have an art room in our house. And I try to stress the importance of art and music as much as any other subject in school or elsewhere. Art, Music, Literature, and culture (in general) just make our lives so much richer.

    • I couldn’t agree with you more, Catania! Can’t wait to get tips from you as the experienced Mom of 4. :)

  3. Hi Renee,

    Very good piece. I agree completely, and as a foreign individual, it is very important for me to raise my children with a better cultural outlook and a more competitive academic standard. I see an incredible need at the school level for more reading, and as many other things, this should start at home but not always does. As you know, I can be pretty competitive in sports as well (!) but academics and art always come first. I liked the part about the teachers’ compensations being so low; you simply cannot expect the best education and have underpaid teachers. They are helping shape our children’s future!

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