I have a confession to make to you. While I am a geek by most qualifying standards of the definition, my family members, so far, do not share similar interests. Some progress has definitely been made on my wife although she’s much more into sports. While I did play baseball and golf a few years back, the geek side eventually won out over that. It leads me to think though, what makes a geek? When is that personality trait truly indoctrinated in the brain? When did I become a geek and set upon my own path in geekdom? While I do tend to think I embody the true sense of being a geek, I have to wonder what we are doing to raise the next generation of geeks to replace us and when in their lives does that training begin and stop.
For me, no one in my family was a technology geek whatsoever. Not even close. They’re all teachers in some form of the word, so maybe I am the geeky outcast? So in searching my memory, when was the day that the switch in my personality clicked and I was destined to be a geek for life? I don’t think I can pinpoint the day, or the year, but when I heard that age seven is the cutoff for personality development I almost have to agree. That’s also probably about when my sisters quit using me to play dress up. The study shows that as early as first grade the personality traits exhibited by children are precursors to adult personality traits.
“We remain recognizably the same person,” said study author Christopher Nave, a doctoral candidate at the University of California, Riverside. “This speaks to the importance of understanding personality because it does follow us wherever we go across time and contexts.”
The study looked at about 2,400 ethnically diverse children in grade school. They looked at both sides of the following personality traits; talkativeness (verbal fluency), adaptability (coping with new situations), impulsiveness and self-minimizing behavior (humility.) What they found, and what is going to be argued is that the traits as they were exhibited by children directly translated to similar traits in adults. The challenge there is that these are pretty basic traits of general psychology. Either side of any of these traits could be applied to almost anyone.
So then back to my original inquiry, with that study in mind – what and when is a geek personality formed? You see, while being a geek may embody certain personality traits I don’t think it itself is a personality trait. I think it’s more of a way of life, or perhaps an encompassing state of being. There are plenty of environmental and social factors that can change how one perceives and interprets life. So there is plenty of time for your budding geeklet to morph into his eventual place in the world of geek. There is also just as much time for that same geeklet to put the way of the geek behind him. No matter what, our support will make them successful no matter which path they choose, no matter what piques their interests.