There was an article I read a long time ago about geeky things kids should do before they turn twelve. Well, we are way past that now. But there were things on that list that we have actually done and I am quite happy about those. But there are still things to do. In an age where mobile phones and tablets are given to children as young as 2, I can breathe a sigh of relief that we never brought up Matthew in such a way.
That said, we are probably in a hybrid situation where we are holding on to our past and embracing the future for both ourselves and for Matthew. This list of geeky things to do then would probably be because of this. And I’m happy that we have actually managed to do quite a bit on that list. This list is not exhaustive, and I will be running through the things that we have done as briefly as possible. We should probably write a full feature on some of them provided we have the means to do it.
1. Tear something electronic apart. Heck, we love doing this kind of thing. We have taken apart a keyboard, an R/C car and a rice cooker among other things.
2. Play a musical instrument. He played the piano when he was in primary school and he is now on percussions in his CCA. So I guess that’s checked off the list.
3. Play an “old fashioned” video game before getting too jaded by modern graphics. Oh, hell yes. 8-bit games rule. Our oldest console now is a GBA but we had a GBC before that. Can’t go too old-school.
4. Plant seeds and watch them grow. You know how this is a school project? It still is, but we have been doing the stuff even before they were asked to do it at school.
5. Create a lightsaber from an old cardboard tube and shiny paper. For some reason, we had cardboard rolls for plastic sheets. Two of them. I didn’t even have to do anything, Matthew just doodled lightsaber handles on them and we started humming lightsaber sounds.
6. Watch a trilogy (we won’t even judge you if it’s all in one day!). Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, Back to the Future, Pirates of the Caribbean and then some.
7. Mix Mentos with Coke. Over and done with. This should be a school requisite.
8. Watch an animated series (Batman, Superman, Justice League, X-Men, etc..). Cartoon Network helped with these. And then there are others like Ben 10, My Little Pony, Wakfu, Gravity Falls, and the list goes on.
9. Visit your state or nation’s capital. Visit the museums there. Okay, we’ve been living in Singapore for a good 10 years and we have more or less visited the museums here twice. We still have to visit the Istana though.
10. Play a video game all the way to the end. Uh-huh. Let’s see, there’s Halo 5, GTA-V, Fallout 4, Titanfall 2 and Castle Crashers. At least from recent memory.
11. Build a model. We have built Gundams. Lots of Gundams.
12. Make a paper aeroplane or newspaper boat. Seriously, it is a sad childhood for anyone who has not made a paper aeroplane and flew it. A paper boat maybe not so much, but parents please, teach your children to fly paper aeroplanes.
13. Play a Table Top Game. We tried our hands on The Walking Dead but ended up buying the Star Wars X-Wing Table Top game.
14. Attend a Comic/Game/Toy Convention. We did. And Matthew ended up loving it. We’re going to attend this year again.
15. Build something crafty. Once upon a time, we got lost and ended up in Playeum. Here, Matthew was introduced to the wonders of a glue gun.
16. Wear a Costume. Yeah, I had to don the same, but we made it through the night without getting caught!
17. Program a Drone. This is the primary reason he got into his school of choice. Drones.
18. Experience Virtual Reality. During the time that VR is just jargon, we managed to attend an exhibition that had a small VR booth set up for learning (rather than playing a game).
19. Build a Robot. Yeah, it was just a kit. But isn’t a robot, a robot?
20. Be an Eco-Warrior. There was one time I brought home extra garbage bags, gloves, and tongs from a beach cleanup that we did with my colleagues. Inspired, Matthew invited us to do the same. And we went to Pasir Ris Beach to clean up, much to the surprise of the people that saw us there.
We probably made half the list and that really isn’t enough. The world has become digital now. Children are always on their mobile phones or tablets playing games or watching videos. There aren’t enough of them going out to play with their friends anymore. There aren’t enough of them riding their bikes around town or going to the beach. Even as we try to bring our children out to do more things, these appliances always draw them in. We need to teach our children how to find balance in their lives because they are moving in a much faster pace than we did. And this may make them unprepared to manage the expectations of a very demanding world.
I would like to reach out more to Matthew and do more geeky things together even as our world turns digital. That is where our world is heading and there is no way to turn our back on the future. What we can do is to make every step going forward also be significant enough to look back on and trigger memories that he would someday recall to smile upon and reflect on.