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Better than a baseball bat

January 19th, 2004 · 2 Comments

Even before we had a baby girl, Ted would joke that he’d want to have a bunch of baseball bats to keep the boys away, should we ever have a daughter. Well, now we have not just one but three girls, girls who are growing up quite quickly I might add. Hmmm, maybe Ted should think about buying a few more baseball bats – the plastic wiffle one in the garage won’t do much good – and maybe taking some lessons on bat handling from our friend who once played in the minor leagues..

Then again, he could just do what Gordon Weakliem is doing in Starting Them Off Young . He describes how he has the perfect plan to indoctrinate his daughter into the world of hacking: “Basically, it involves making her so geeky that she won’t even think about boys until she’s 25. ”

Gordon has been using every strategy possible, from enticing her with elephant-illustrated Lisp books to training her during her bath time with bright colorful letters.

As I thought about this though, I realized what this father also did, that teaching his daughter programming was only going to make her more attractive to certain boys. He’ll almost certainly end up with a hacker for a son-in-law. And imagine the grandchildren 🙂

Gordon though feels he has failed in his efforts to indoctrinate his lovely young daughter. She seems to be burping and feeding her baby dolls instead of regurgitating and hacking code. “I fear all my efforts may have been in vain.”

Well, as comfort, I wanted to encourage Gordon that it is not too late! His daughter may still yet learn to love Lisp. While we have not entered into such a severe indoctrination program as Gordon – guess we were still planning to rely on baseball bats – our girls seem to be naturally drifting into the geeky direction. We haven’t started teaching them how to code yet. While Ted has already chosen the book he wants to use to teach them CS, we’re still working on counting and reading. But the two older girls are beginning to pick up bits here and there. They’ve got some vocabulary. They know about “blogging” – even helped me blog a bit earlier today. They’ve made their own laptops, out of paper, complete with keyboards and screens. The other day each of the girls sat down, one on either side of me , while I was working on my “thinking pad” at my desk – and they each worked on their “laptop” too. Already they want to type and create on the computer. Learning code is only a matter of time, I imagine….Looks like they are absorbing geekiness, as if by osmosis, influenced by what they see at home..

Then again, if they are influenced by what they see at home, which includes how happy we two parents are together – then maybe it will be hard to keep them from thinking about boys until they are 25, no matter how much they learn to love Lisp. 🙂

Tags: geek

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 fredf // Jan 20, 2004 at 3:54 am

    I always found that a bone-crushing handshake and severe eye contact with the young man at the front door on the first visit set an appropriately authoritative, Neatherthalian frame of respect around the father-daughter-courter relationship. Start practicing. Now.

  • 2 Gordon Weakliem // Jan 20, 2004 at 12:18 pm

    I should point out that that post was with tongue firmly in cheek, lest anyone think I’m a psycho. Elaina’s a little young for making her own laptop, she’d rather tear the keys off of mine (I can tell you that it’s a lot easier to get them off than back on). Hmm, bone crushing handshake and eye contact aren’t my strengths. Good thing I have a few years to practice 🙂