As a Gen-Xer who grew up during a time when it still wasn’t cool to be a nerd, I’m glad to see that it’s now become far more socially acceptable to be into things outside the mainstream. I still remember what it was like to be “that kid” who was into computers and technology and BBSes and programming when all the other kids were playing football, or baseball, or whatever.
Being an outsider in school was hard. You want to fit in but you want to follow your passion, too. I’m so happy to see my kids having that same sort of passion and knowing that they won’t have to deal with the insults and whatever. To be able to show them that people just like me and them are out creating the technology that we all use today is a powerful thing. When their friends come over and see me working on my laptop and my daughters can say, “yeah, he helps build the Internet,” and they just light up. That’s pretty amazing.
A lot has changed in 20 years and it’s going to keep changing. Soon, we’ll be handing over the reins to a whole new generation. What is the legacy that we will leave them with? What is the message that we are giving them that they will take with them into the future? It’s a tumultuous time and big decisions need to be made about privacy, and technology, and it’s a role in our lives. Whatever decisions we make, how we treat each other, we’re teaching that to our kids. Teach them what is important, that we care for each other, despite their differences. We care about privacy. We care about the world and our impact on it. These are the important things. Not what sports team is leading whatever. Not what celebrity is doing that thing in public again. It’s how we respect each other that matters.