Soccer Dad, Programmer Dad

I am not a soccer player. I never played on a league or demonstrated any natural aptitude for the sport as a kid. I have a basic understanding of the game, but some of the finer points of the offside rule still escape me. I doubt I’m currently fit enough to play 90 minutes with an over-40 team.

Unfortunately this has not deterred me from being a Soccer Dad. Not the worst variety by a long shot, the kind that abuse referees and players, but certainly one of the louder ones shouting encouragement and instructions from the sidelines.

I truly can’t help myself. Try as I might to shut up, I’m so incredibly caught up by the excitement of watching my sons do something better than I ever could when I was their age that I tend to yell a lot. Good yelling. The encouraging kind (I hope), but a little more obnoxious than my normal self.

I look at them bewildered and wonder “How is it possible that I have been part of bringing athletes into this world?”

Likewise, programming. Though I am not a programmer myself, I’ve worked in the general vicinity of code for long enough to become familiar with some of the basics. And now my kids are starting to code (Python as it happens), and I find it difficult to suppress my excitement.

I’ve been really impressed with Zed Shaw’s “the Hard Way” books. I’ve been working through the Python one myself, and thought that it would be a good disciplined approach for my nine-year-old son.

Nope.

Unfortunately, he’s inherited my “scattered but curious” approach to learning things. Zed takes a more methodical “programming as practice” / martial arts dojo approach with Learning Python the Hard Way, which is one of the things I like about it. For me it’s a great corrective for my tendency to mess about and learn haphazardly, but for my son it’s way too serious. He want’s to play with the language, and that’s something I don’t dare discourage.

So I’ll soldier on with my own Python studies, and hope that I stay just far enough ahead of my sons to still be able to show them stuff a year from now.

Published: June 07 2013

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