Glad to know I'm not the only 30+ person on here.
I think it's awesome that there are lots of young people who are into learning and creativity and thinking, and reducing world suck. But I'm starting to think that maybe I have lost touch with my youthfulness if that makes any sense. Not the spirit of it, it's the thinking style. So I can never be sure if I'm putting old fart ideas in young people's heads, and yet it took me awhile to catch on that this is an all ages site because some of the discussions on here are pretty heavy and as I recall I was a nerd in a cliques world so we didn't discuss these things at school.
If you're a teenager take it as a compliment that you're smart enough to fool someone who is twice your age on intellectual issues. That's awesome.
We're all young at heart I think but I am wondering when this 'growing up' is supposed to happen. For people who are 40+ I'm sure you know you're passed that question (or are you?). But I just turned 30 and I don't know what that means to you but it's like Bilbo has left me with the ring of power and I'm supposed to go to mordor to destroy it, instead of having fun with the hobbits. Or at least not act like a teenager. Actually there are teenagers who have more decorum than I do, for example..but you know what I mean...you're old enough to know.
So are we supposed to act like old farts in general and/or on here? At what point do we say, ok, we're being "too adult" for these 13 year olds who are obviously smart, but still kids? What kind of ethical bridge do we need to cross as "the elders" in this community?
This is a question for Tom and Hank too, who I understand are also 30+
I am actually old enough to be some of my fellow nerdfighters mother. For all I know my nieces and nephews, or their friends, are on this site.
WHAT TO DO?
Maybe some of the 50+ people can advise. Or at least people with kids.
What do you think?
And what do the young ones think? How should we as more experienced adults interact with them respectfully?
Great question and I'm still working on it myself. It's great to be here and you're absolutely right about the tone and depth of conversation here. But yeah, I'm not a kid and I haven't been one for a while now.
I think the very nature of Nerdfighteria helps to counter my Old Fart stink. After all, getting passionate about stories and music and games and [your nerdfocus of choice here]? That is - at its heart - a young pastime. For a lot of Old Farts, responsibilities and obligations don't take long to crowd out all those just-for-fun passions, leaving room for maybe spectator sports or obsessive lawncare. Hanging onto those passions - the big ones that define us and drive us - that's pretty cool. We've managed to turn Nerdfighting into an endurance event.
As far as our role here? Sometimes in these discussions, experience counts. Sometimes, it puts me a little out of touch. Most of the time, it doesn't matter. I'm no chaperon. I'm not here to direct or control. Sometimes I give advice if asked, but mostly I throw in my 2 cents and count on everyone else to do pretty much the same.
For a lot of Old Farts, responsibilities and obligations don't take long to crowd out all those just-for-fun passions,
This is where I'm really lucky. My passions are my work. And I don't have kids or a mortgage.
I'm no chaperon. I'm not here to direct or control.
I agree...besides if teenagers are what they were like "back when I was your age" (lol) they wouldn't want one anyway....still...it's a pickle. Maybe we could look at this as one of those opportunities where teenagers get to do things without being told how to do them all the time? Maybe only step in when things get out of hand?
p.s. I meant John and Hank as in The Brothers Green.
I'm struggling with this as well CD. I love the energy and enthusiasm on the site and its status as a (weird but) wonderful island of tranquility in a sea of internet suckitude but I wonder what my place in it should be. I really want to be a part of it (especially some of the projects Re: World Suck) but I find that I don't get much out of the conversations on the IRC or the forums. When people start talking about whether that cute nerdfighter likes some other nerdfighter I just feel old.
That said, I'm the same age as Hank (I think) and Nerdfighteria is traditionally a very accepting place so the hesitation I feel in diving in might have more to do with my own insecurities and fear of not being able to relate than anything I might feel from the community itself.
I used to lead a youth group on a yearly camping trip and the effect was that when we all emerged from the wilderness they felt a little older (learning to cook/clean/survive for themselves without their parents for the first time) and I always felt a little younger. That's why I feel like we all have something to offer here.
My interest is around creating compassion on the web and I have a few ideas for projects to get people to practice it. My hope is to harness some of that classy Nerdfighter energy to help realize some of these projects and give back a little bit.
Sorry..... this got a bit meandering. I think I need more coffee.
You've raised interesting points. Maybe it's a bit like this with projects:
Maybe I was just seeing a problem when there isn't one because this seems to be how it already works. Or maybe we just need to start some old fart projects?
I'm 33, and I don't consider myself an OF yet. But! I mentor teen/college-age writers, and sometimes I just don't connect with them on certain levels because of my age and experience.
I'm still at the testing-the-waters stage of getting into Nerdfighteria, but I hope the principles I use to interact with my writers will also apply here. I think teens are awesome, and I LOVE my kids as dearly as if I gave birth to them, but I am so, so glad I'm not a teenager anymore. :P