Audrey Rae and Braxton-
We took a little family trip this last weekend. Us four and some friends of ours piled in our cars and drove out to Hillsboro for a faire. But, as I’m sure you know by now, this was no average faire. This was the inaugural year of the Oregon Renaissance Festival, and it was fantastic.
What really made it spectacular this year, beyond the jousts, the performances, and the players, were the costumes your mom made for us. The outfits were not only beautiful, detailed, and incredibly impressive, but your mom made sure they were completely period accurate. I hope that when you read this, you guys are still as excited to get into Renaissance style attire as you are now, and as your mother and I always are, but I also understand that it’s a bit of a social taboo.
Audrey, you love your princess dress so much right now. You’re about to grow out of it, but I’m certain that your mom will make you another one. As soon as you put it on, the first thing you want to do is twirl. You smile, you laugh, and will often shout, just so everyone knows, “I’m a princess!”
Braxton, your eyes lit up at every sight at the faire. The flowing banners, the trotting horses, even the jester that your friend Liam wasn’t too thrilled about, all of these things ensnared your attention.
I hope you guys still love the faire like your mom and I do, but I also realize a simple truth: dressing up for a Renaissance Festival is not what many would refer to as “cool”. No, quite the contrary, many would refer to our practice as, well, nerdy.
This may be a word you hear a lot living in a house with me, because I am a proud, dedicated nerd. But as satisfied as I am with my hobbies, I do remember what it was like being young. I know that you will face the judgment of your peers; I know that this judgment will mean a lot to you, and I know that living up to the social norm is a big part of passing the test of popularity. I remember being a sixth grade boy and suddenly being humiliated because I let slip that I watched Power Rangers (will they still have Power Rangers when you read this? The show is in its umpteenth iteration right now, I believe they’re in time or in space or something like that. Or maybe they’re ninjas, I don’t know, I don’t watch the show anymore, but I digress).
For you two, it may be someday that you let slip that you and your family dress up for Ren Faires. It may be that your schoolmates look at you with judgment, snicker, and begin to taunt. But there is a secret that I hope you can hold on to in these times, something that should help you stand above the taunts. You see, normalcy isn’t what makes you accepted. No, what allows people to accept you for who you are, what encourages people to stand next to you despite your hobbies, is one simple word: confidence. Confidence in yourself, in your hobbies, in who you are is what tells people that what you enjoy is worth enjoying.
The mistake I made when I was younger was trying to deny my love for Star Wars, or saying I only play Magic: The Gathering occasionally, or that I was reading all of those books for school. I wish I knew the importance of confidence when I was younger. When your friends mockingly say “You dress up in costumes and go to Renaissance Festivals?” confidence allows you to reply, “Let’s put it this way: while you were watching Disney Channel this weekend, I was watching a man with a battleaxe rip the shield off the arm of a man with a sword. While you were Facebook poking someone, I was being greeted by a queen. While you were getting upset because your phone broke, I was watching a lance shatter against the armor of a mounted knight. But no, you’re right, how lame am I?”
Be confident in what your hobbies are. Don’t let others convince you that they aren’t “cool”. While “cool” kids are watching TV, we nerds get to fight with light sabers; while cool kids go to the mall, we nerds get to go to Renaissance Festivals; while “cool” kids shun literature, we nerds get to visit Middle Earth, Gotham, Neverland, and Hogwarts. We nerds ride on the Millennium Falcon, Starship Enterprise, and Serenity. We nerds wield lightsabers, sonic screwdrivers, batarangs, and lances. We nerds don’t just have the world at our fingertips, we have other worlds at our fingertips.
If you guys end up as nerdy as me, be proud of it. Be confident in who you are. Stand tall with the incredible worlds you are a part of.
If you guys end up not being nerds…well…that’s okay, I guess. I’ll try not to judge you.
1 Corinthians 1:4-
This is a good one! I worry my kids *won’t* grow up to be nerds…