Being a Disney geek is more than just watching the movies or going to the theme parks- it’s a lifestyle and this was one of the topics on discussion at San Diego Comic-Con this year around which we wanted to be a part.

While most of us have accepted ourselves and nerd fandom, how do you raise/teach/lead future generations to embrace themselves as a FanKid? Teachers and parents gathered Thursday afternoon at the Marriot Marquis to discuss the challenges of Raising Fankids: Teaching Young Geeks To Be Self-Confident. Panel host Pasquale Piro is a passionate cosplayer who has mastered the art of raising confident ‘geek’ children. Along with being a self-proclaimed nerd, Pasquale is an 8th grade teacher who encourages his students to be comfortable with who they are and embrace their differences. Joining the panel were two of Pasquale’s students, Rafe Gerson and Tatti Che, who are openly passionate about being ‘geeks.’

But for most ‘geeks,’ growing up with different interests wasn’t always easy. While nerdom acceptance is on the rise, the negative connotation still exists in the world, especially with kids. Rafe pointed out that schools still put too much emphasis on sports and other interests are still put on the backburner. Panelist and school teacher, Brandon Maze, explained that kids often “feel like they are the only one, and may hide their fandoms for fear of being judged.”

Panelists discussed the benefits of adding more clubs at schools (Harry Potter, Doctor Who, comic books) to promote varied interests and unite outcasts. Bullying is still huge problem with youth today, and uniting kids with common interests is key to improving self-confidence.

So what can we do as parents/teachers/leaders to help kids embrace their truest nerd-selves? Even if you’re not a parent or teacher, don’t underestimate your power to make a positive influence on kids today. Children learn by example, so “practice what you preach” and be confident in YOURSELF and what makes YOU a nerd. Panelist Christina Silvoson recommends to “realize who you are and own it!” Life’s too short to be anything but your authentic self, so embrace your inner geek and enjoy every second of it!

More to See!

We are at San Diego Comic-Con 2017 the entire weekend with plenty to see! Check it all out by clicking below!