A Geek (Parent)’s Love

As a computer geek, I love my kids a bit differently (is it an understatement ?) than others.
I love them very much, but I’m also able to discipline them fairly when needed. My kids are all able to use computer since they’re babies 🙂 All are able to use Linux daily 😀
They love books, as I do. They don’t watch TV (I forbid one in my house), but they browse the internet under our supervision. And so on.

But what make me in awe everyday is because I happen to understand computers : I know how stupid it is. So I’m constantly amazed when my kids are able to accomplish something new. Because it made me remember that, despite the latest advances in the artificial-intelligence field, they are nowhere close to the intelligence level of my baby : self-aware & sentient. And capability to learn pretty much **anything**.
Try to top that 🙂

Anyway, so it was with great feeling I read this comment again and again. It moved me so much.
It was exactly my experience, but written so much more eloquently that I could ever hoped for.

I hope I’ll be successful in my duty : to raise all of my kids to be good adults. To all other geek parent’s out there, here’s one for you :

I won’t lie to you — being a parent is no laughing matter. It is a ton of work. It can be amazingly stressful and expensive. I’ve been through periods that I look back on now and wonder how the hell I managed to pull through without going completely insane.
But if you ask me, the rewards outweigh the difficulties ten to one.

When your child first looks up at your face and you see actual recognition in her eyes… when you see all the blocks fall into place as she figures out how to do something for the first time… look, I know it sounds really sappy and smarmy, but seriously (srsly) it is absolutely indescribable.
This thing started out as a bit of genetic code from two people, and now it is actually self-aware and sentient. How cool is that? What geek can’t be astonished at these emergent properties, derived from a program more complicated than you can possibly imagine — a program that has spontaneously evolved over time?

And you get to see her mental map evolve. You watch branches get added to her decision tree. You observe as she learns how to acquire information, process it, and decide how to act upon it. And all the while, you mold her view of the world based on your interactions with her. I don’t know about you, but I find that not only fascinating, but incredibly rewarding.

Before my daughter was born, I was terrified too, and (if) somebody had said these things to me, I would’ve said, “Yeah, okay, I’m sure it’s great and all, but I’m sure you’re exaggerating somewhat.” That’s because there is something that happens to you when it’s your kid. There’s some very ancient, very basic code that gets turned on in your brain that says “this life is your responsibility, and you must do everything you can to ensure its safety, survival, and growth“. I can’t explain it because I honestly believe it’s something buried deep beneath the conscious mind.

114 thoughts on “A Geek (Parent)’s Love

  1. r u serious that your kids don’t watch TV? any TV show?
    somehow I feel sorry for that 😀

  2. He3x, wait until she is 6 years and asking you to set-up her own blog and refuse her parents to edit the contents, like my daughter.

  3. btw, how old are your child?
    TV is helping my daughter to concentrate while we feed her.

    jadi selain tv apa dong? masa udah diajarin browsing

  4. @Irfan & @Yudhis – thanks for the compliments 🙂
    .
    @Toni – looking forward to that ! **bracing myself for impact** 🙂
    .
    @andriansah – sorry if I wasn’t too clear.
    .
    The point was to ensure that all input to your children are only the good ones.
    .
    Actually you can expose them to bad things too – but you must make sure that :
    .
    1. You’ll be there in case they have questions
    2. You can explain it well to them
    .
    An example that I did can be read here.
    .
    The problem with TV nowadays are :.
    .
    1. There are WAY too many bad contents, compared to the good ones
    2. We were not always available to them in case they have questions
    3. But many of the contents on TV nowadays are pure junk; it’s designed to make you passive. So usually the kids will have no questions, but it will rot their brain anyway.
    .
    So we ban the TV, and we provide them with positive contents instead.
    .
    For example, since we’re muslims, we have educational VCDs produced by NCR. We also have entertainments for them – our family’s favorites are Azumanga Daioh and UFO baby **summon Idban**. Very funny, yet there are things we can learn from those.
    .
    And yes, it’s much easier to feed the kids while they’re busy playing / watching. My 5 years old can easily ate 2 plates this way 🙂
    .
    Hope it clear things up.

  5. “this life is your responsibility, and you must do everything you can to ensure its safety, survival, and growth“.
    Great
    Parenting is real tough job and every parent learns it through experiences. These experiences can be either shared or acheived through self practise.
    well, m child is too small now to watch Tv or even to speak singlw word but i’m keeping her away from television for sometime.

  6. Children are indeed all what a computer is not.

    They cause emotion: tenderness, pain, discovery. sadness, worries, relief, stormy moments, ultimate happiness.

    From my flimsy efforts of education of the three of them I remember they were lovable, exciting, unpredictable, naughty, defiant and grateful.

    I’m a lucky guy. They are independent grown ups now – doing fine.

  7. @Rozita – totally agree with you.
    .
    @colson – congratulations pak.You’re so blessed with them.
    Please wish me luck as well.
    .
    This is a really hard job – you can try your best, but the outcome may still be different than what you wish.
    .
    Thanks for coming !

  8. I am not yet a parent but I think my parents has done a great job in bringing me up. I wasnt the type of kid who gets anything I want, there was no room for too much pampering, only when I get to present good results and do a good turn. Reading the post and the comments makes me appreciate parents more, One day I will be one of your guys too.

  9. I am a little surprised that your babies were able to use the computer at that young age 🙂 The internet is getting out of control these days and do you install some internet filtering stuffs for you kids? I am looking for one for my kids ..

  10. It is very good not letting kids watch tv. But I wouldn’ say the same thing about letting them computing since the they are babies.

  11. ahoy fellow geek parent!
    my kids love the fact that i play world of warcraft with em :]
    found your blog on google, i like!
    check mine out if ya dont mind, im new!

    -Ang

  12. Hi Angela, love your blog there. Very funny & down to earth. You’re sharing some pretty useful tips too.
    .
    Yeah whenever possible I give them multiplayer games **and** I’ll play with them. It’ll help us to be closer together.
    Single player games can be rather destructive / make kids to become a loner if not carefully supervised.

  13. r u sure ur kids dont watch the tv?not even when u r not there?
    its kind of a gud thing and also is partly bad as they dont get to know the happening around.

  14. @Sonix – yes, because we don’t have TV at home 🙂
    .
    We do watch TV when we went out, example, to their grandpa’s house. But in that case, usually I’ll be available around them to explain things they don’t understand. And to let them know that this is trash (and why so), this is good stuff, and so on.

  15. I do regret the day I began letting my children watch television. I once had the goal of a TV-free home, but alas I married someone who thinks TV is educational. I try very hard to limit the TV watching. Some days I do better than other days. My children are allowed to watch only the public television channel, nothing else.

  16. That’s a good start – and ideally you’ll be able to answer their questions and/or explain stuff that may be interpreted differently by them.
    .
    Such as the wrestling shows – you’ll need to make them understand that it’s just show off, not real. Otherwise incidents will happen; we have several kids killed several others when they tried to imitate WWF. This may be avoided if there’s an adult there which was available to make them understand the truth of the show.

  17. Hi, I to love computers and I have an 18 month old that is always trying to use the keyboard and mouse. I’m sure it will not be long until he starts browsing the web.

    I wanted to say that I agree with the comment Judy left on May 17th, having some kind of filtering sofware installed is cruicial. You never know when an innocent looking web search will return image results you would not want your child to look at, or anyone else for that matter!

  18. If you want to learn things regarding computers, ask your kids! Sometimes, they are more expert in these gadgets than we do! I always work on my Personal Bank Checks site but when they start to insist they want to use it, I don’t have second thoughts!

  19. Even i m a computer geek..yea making them good at computers when they’re kids is actually a great thing..will surely help them out later!
    Nice writing mate!

  20. Definitely a kid deserves more attention than a computer! Kids are somehow naturally talented towards computers. Maybe you can design a website together with them?

  21. Good blog.As feha said on 20th feb. I think T.V. is just waste of time.In my opine you will not learn from T.V.Only you will get the news of world.Where with computer you can get the knowledge as well as you can earn online.And also you can get the news of world.There are many advantages in computer.In my opine T.V. is just waste of time.Nothing else.

  22. Yes, I love my ” kids ” too. You mean my domain ” kids” , domains that I created and are now ready to fly if they will be cleverly developed ? Yes I love them all. PR0 are my favorites, just kidding. Keep up with the good work !

  23. May be our children are ready to overcome by miles and understand the world better. They will make the world better. Their intelligence will make it a better world.

  24. I applaud for your discipline but sometimes you have to let kids be kids. Isn’t surfing the internet for entertainment comparable to watching Tv.

  25. Not watching television definitely shows a lot of discipline/dedication. I for one don’t think I would know what to do with myself without tv.

  26. I think your ways are good because you are making your children computer literate so they don’t grow up not being able to use technology. I highly support the “geek ness”.

  27. I work almost all the night and then go to drop my son in school in morning and then I go to sleep. After 4 hours I wake up again and go to pick him up. I do all this only for a lovely kiss and dear word “PAPA”. I think this super mini computer is biggest invention and nothing can compete it. I love you my son.

  28. Yes parenting is no easy job. I have 3 kids. I can’t wait for them to go to college.

  29. Good for you! Television is an incredible manipulation especially for kids. If you watch carefully you can see how everything is just set up. News, movies, competitions !
    I mostly watch NG and discovery!

  30. Good call – the TV thing is a debateable one. If your child cant concentrate on books, then how will you child ever see, for instance, animals that are not tnative to your area? In this way Discovery and PBS come in very handy.

  31. If your child cant concentrate on books, then how will you child ever see, for instance, animals that are not tnative to your area?
    .
    Go to your local library ?
    .
    Unlike Indonesia, where libraries are very rarely available for public, and their books’ collections are not so good – in USA / UK / etc their public librarier are a joy to be in.
    .
    When I was in Birmingham, one of our favorite activities were to visit the Central Library, and spend the whole day there. It’s a bliss.

  32. I understand what your stating. In the United States the TV is used as a babysitter. I don’t have any children but if I did I would definitely teach them the value of reading and playing outside.

  33. Right, I just realized that I’ve missed a lot of comments here, my bad. Let’s try rectify that.
    .
    this is complex for child, i think. internet can be dangerous for children.
    .
    It could, but on the other hand, it could also be a very powerful tool to assist them in their daily life.
    .
    If you’re available to them, help guiding them, then your kids would be able to fully exploit internet for their own benefit. Not lost in that.
    .
    Maybe you can design a website together with them?
    .
    Sure, why not. My daughter (10 yrs) already got her own blog. She put her own comic strips there.
    .
    Turned out to be quite a success, she already interviewed & and featured in several magazine/newspaper here.
    .
    but sometimes you have to let kids be kids. Isn’t surfing the internet for entertainment comparable to watching Tv.

    .
    No, because it’s interactive. While the TV is passive.
    There was this study that shown that watching TV consumes LESS calorie than sleeping.
    .
    That’s how bad it is. Watching TV is a VERY passive activity.
    .
    I don’t have any children but if I did I would definitely teach them the value of reading and playing outside.
    .
    Spot on.
    .
    What I didn’t write in this post is that I insist that my kids go play outdoor everyday.
    .
    Gives them a good tan as well 🙂
    .
    Only at night they may come in and play inside, including using the computer / internet.
    .
    I’m very lucky that I got this big park right in front of my house. So even when the kids plays there, it’s still very easy to watch over them.
    .
    but reading don’t funny for children 7 year:)
    .
    My youngest daughter is 4 yrs old and she likes to read 🙂
    .
    If you keep on giving positive feedback whenever they’re reading, after a while they’ll learn to love books.

  34. From a fellow computer nerd we seem to have a lot in common with our kids. I think my kids like the computer better than they do TV. It is weird to see the generations and how they adapt to different technologies.

  35. I am the same way my kids are always on the internet and I made sure I put on all of the programs to keep their eyes away from things that I don’t want them to see. Great technologies these days makes it easier to block their access to certain sites.

  36. I actually find it hard to keep my kids from doing anything but TV or PC. I remember back when I was a kid we didn’t have these things and we would play outside all day long until the sun went down. Times have changed for sure.

  37. @Champ – I remember back when I was a kid we didn’t have these things and we would play outside all day long until the sun went down. Times have changed for sure.
    .
    All we had was stone, dirt, sticks – still we were able to play until we fell from exhaustion.
    .
    It’s the environment – nowadays it’s pretty hard to find a big, open space for kids to play on. Quite sad indeed.

  38. I believe that with all the c..p you can learn and watch on TV there are few good TV shows that can teach lots of stuff to our children for instance history channel discovery kids and others. Of course I encourage reading and practicing sports overall.

  39. I think you’re the good parent, but control your children. Sitting too much at the computer is not good.

  40. I agree with Esgic, certain tv channels are good and educational so its not all that bad, however with the internet you choose what is on, unlike the tv, which I prefer.

  41. So true, so true. TV watching is so passive. I don’t think using a computer is much better. At our house it is all called ‘screen time’ and it is monitored and limited.

  42. Yeah I agree on TV. The internet has better and more focused information if you know what you are looking for. For small children parent advisory off course, but give freedom to explore.

  43. Great to read about someone taking a truly active role in their kid’s upbringing and the role of TV/the media in it. Teaching them a skill (linux) is likely to be much more useful in the future than teaching them to watch TV, which is hardly likely to help

  44. This is a great article. TV – its so tough to know what the right thing is. We all know that advertising targets small children, and we feel bad allowing them watch. Further, content molds our children – too much TV means that content is molding them indstead of the content you provide them through activity and conversation.

    Then again a lot can be learned about the world from television. Avoiding it altogether may not allow your child to learn as fast about things you simply cant get around to teaching them (or simply forget).

  45. Reading through the start of the article where it talked about letting your kids browse the internet under supervision.

    Your kids mustn’t be very old, you couldn’t stop a teenager browsing the internet no matter how hard you watch them.

  46. Its like you asked, if its ok to let the children eat junk food.

    If they are disciplined, they can, same thing goes for computers and internet.

    ..my 2 cents

  47. great ideas. I always follow your ideas and apply them.

    Just one question though. Have you made writing this blog as your profession or do you do this in your spare time?

    Just curious..

  48. My kids (5, 9) when they are home, they are beside comp all day. When I turn off the comp for then, then they make a rest by watching TV. Hopeless 🙁

  49. Wow, you have a parenting style that is very good for your children. I strongly agree that the current television show that brings a lot of bad influence for children. If an early age they were introduced with Internet technology, of course under your supervision as their parents, so when they grow up they will become a person who has a good level of intelligence. But do not forget to balance their education with religious education, so they can find happiness in the world and the hereafter.

  50. Hmmmm I can not see my last comment but I just wanted to remind other parents to sit back and enjoy the moments as they come and to try and be as patient as possible

  51. wow this is so myterious! I liked the story and I wil share it with my friends, think they will lied it so much as I did. Indeed I gave the link to you blog to some of them and they are now your constant readers and Great post on things all bloggers should know and practice. The most important (in my humble opinion). You can be a blogging maniac and spend hours everyday devoted to it, but if the content isn’t effective, then it’s a fruitless effort.

  52. wow this is so mysterious! I liked the story and I will share it with my friends, think they will lied it so much as I did. Indeed I gave the link to you blog to some of them and they are now your constant readers and Great post on things all blogger should know and practice. The most important (in my humble opinion). You can be a blogging maniac and spend hours everyday devoted to it, but if the content isn’t effective, then it’s a fruitless effort.

  53. Wow it is so mysterious, fabulous and mind blowing post! I liked the story and I will share it with my friends, I think they will lied it so much as I did. I think so it is good place to gain a lot of knowledge as much as more experience from such type of educational Blogs. Indeed I gave the link to you blog to some of them and they are now your constant readers. Thanks for sharing and I hope you will be here for giving us more information in the future. Once again thanks for cooperation…

  54. You made some good points there. I did a search on the topic and found most people will agree with you.

  55. I am puzzled to know that you don’t allow kids to watch T.V.
    It’s the best way to teach a kid and It’s now a modern world so they should know each and everythng about the technology.

  56. wooow…amazing, your kids able to use linux already?awesome, really i so shock read your post.Maybe someday if i have kids i will do the same like you, hope my kids will be brilliant like yours.

  57. this post is quite nice I like the efforts of the post writer so keep it up and gives us some more nice and nice information about it.

  58. wow this is so mysterious! I liked the story and I will share it with my friends, think they will lied it so much as I did. Indeed I gave the link to you blog to some of them and they are now your constant readers and Great post on things all blogger should know and practice.

  59. It is actually very attractive. Now the women contacted,the pointed toe and the heel of the 5-inch high,it should be.This is also tough and you wear a leather miniskirt rock chic style cocktails. One of the very elegant and stylish shoes and Shaochuan women were considered.

  60. It is actually very attractive. Now the women contacted,the pointed toe and the heel of the 5-inch high,it should be.This is also tough and you wear a leather miniskirt rock chic style cocktails.

  61. I was amazed how my 4 year old kid knows how to navigate our computer in the house, kids nowadays are really techie. and by the way this is very touching “this life is your responsibility, and you must do everything you can to ensure its safety, survival, and growth”

  62. Good thinking. I applaud for your discipline but sometimes you have to let kids be kids. Isn’t surfing the internet for entertainment comparable to watching Tv.

  63. Every parents love their kids ,they are willing to do everything for their kids .Especially that someting good for them.

  64. It is the geek parent’s holy grail of parenting your kid’s sexuality at every stage, chock full of current scientific data and psychiatric research without religious leanings. Well, we are in our genera ion which technology arises and i agree that parents have great rule in disciplining their children.

    Feel free to check this website http://cureforgenitalwart.net/. I have read about it and its so amazing.

  65. Man, really want to know how can you be that smart, lol…great read, thanks.
    excellent points and the details are more precise than somewhere else, thanks.- Thomas
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  66. I can see with my kids (8 and 10 y.) and their friends – at least 20% of them already have facebook account (with fake birth date of course).

  67. Interesting blog sharing. I really get good impress to read your information. mostly peoples are like your blog. because its a good knowledge for peoples. thanks for your wonderful sharing.

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