If you have older children, do you recall the ah-ha moment when you realized your child had outgrown you? In honor of my son’s 17th birthday today, I’m sharing mine.
For what seems like months, I had been lecturing my son about wasting time playing video games. And his grades. And his commitment for the future. I called him an addict. Threatened to remove his computer from his room. Truth be told, I envisioned throwing it out his bedroom window for the satisfaction of seeing it crash to the ground into a bazillion pieces.
Of course it’s my fault.
My kids’ habits are my responsibility and I accept such. Not only is a computer an excellent learning tool but it can become a great babysitter too. If you have kids, you know what I’m talking about. When they’re toddlers, we use TV. They eventually graduate to computers. And Xboxes.
One day not so long ago, I decided to take control back from my son. After all, he was out of hand and heading for a troubled future. So I marched up to his bedroom and barged in to find him sitting in front of his computer. Naturally.
On this particular occasion for some reason, he didn’t immediately speak the words “get out.” Pause. I began my hovering and the intended lecture. If you ask me now what I said, I won’t be able to tell you. The words I had been spewing were interrupted when my brain suddenly recognized that I hadn’t been told to get out. And that shut me down.
We were both silent for a moment. My heart was changing its direction and requiring my brain to follow. At that moment, I reclaimed the faith in my son that I’d always had. It was merely hidden. Probably behind video games.
I pulled myself together and asked that he show me what he was doing.
For the following hour, I watched as my son enthusiastically demonstrated for me the project he’d taken on to assist the Department of Chemistry and Structural Biology at Stanford University. I can’t tell you much about the aid he continues to provide the research lab at Stanford. It’s way over my head. I can only repeat the line about how Stanford researchers have accepted computer networked assistance from those interested to work on theory and simulations of how proteins (insert many other scientific terms here) fold. The clever boy went on to explain to his mom how this science is related to cause and prevention of diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Cystic Fibrosis.
I’m humbled. I’m proud. Speechless still. Wait. I need to say Stanford one more time. (Yes, I did make him wear the Stanford t-shirt for this photo.)
And now, without further ado, happy birthday to my brilliant future physicist.