I’ve been reading this book, Manifold: Time by Stephen Baxter. It’s a thick book, both physically and in content. The rest of the post may include some bits that relate to the book, so if you haven’t read it and you intend to, you might want to avoid continuing. But then again, it isn’t really about the plot so much as what the book did to my brain, so I guess it doesn’t really matter. In any case, I do recommend the book – especially if you have any interest whatsoever in physics, astro- or otherwise.
One of the components of the book talks about these kids that are cropping up in society with super intelligence. These kids exhibit some Asperger’s tendencies, but more than that – they’re extremely smart and think about things that elude many adults. But this post isn’t really even about that.
It’s this: What if my kids aren’t smart?
I used to wonder what I would do if my kids are smarter than me, but I think I know how to handle that. Give them something to think about. Give them something to learn about. Libraries are awesome things, and when the town runs out of interesting materials, there are more colleges within reach around here than is really fair to the rest of the world. So it’s not really a concern. Extra-smart kids just need extra things to use their brain for. And the more the better. (And why this isn’t obvious to the people in the book, I don’t comprehend. Fear, I guess.)
But I don’t really like dealing with people who aren’t smart. I know, it makes me sound like an ass, but I prefer spending time with smart people. I’ve been some combination of lucky and smart about my friends choice in me as a friend and in my choice of fields. I keep myself surrounded with people who are smart and intellectually stimulating. My friends are smart. I work in a company where the people I interact with daily are more likely to be much smarter than me than not (and it sometimes gives me an inferiority complex, which just makes me want to get a masters so I can know more – but that’s for another soul-searching post). I know how to deal with smart people. I avoid “stupid people.” And I use that term generally to refer to people who may not technically be stupid, but “just” average.
Yeah, I’m an ass.
What if my kids aren’t smart? I can’t avoid them. I can’t make fun of them. I can’t be laughing or even frustrated at them if they can’t keep up.
Maybe they’ll be good with music. That would probably be enough. To have music in common. Or art in general. That’s something I think I could handle.
But, and here’s something far more terrifying, what if they don’t like music? Or art? What then?
I was musing about such things, while walking up the hill from the train. I finally came to a conclusion – it doesn’t matter. It shouldn’t. And I don’t have to worry about it right now anyway. I’m not having kids now. Someday, but not now. And I guess all the fear just reminds me that I’m not ready.
Thing is, I used to get creeped out by my friends having kids. And I can sense in some of my friends that they still are baffled that our friends are having kids. But it doesn’t freak me out like that any more. I know it’s something that just happens, and something that I hope some day may happen to me. (Just not now.)
I guess the introduction of this set of “what ifs” is just a part of the progression of my genetic imperative.
Either that, or this book is making me think too much.
When I finish these (there are three in the series), I think I might need to go back to Harry Dresden. He only makes me think about how cool it would be if I could do magic.