I remember when I was still in junior high and I had just discovered the hobby. I would carry around my 3.5 Player's Handbook and Dungeon Master's Guide in my backpack and pull them out during my free time to leaf through them. Occasionally, someone would spot me holding the book and would approach me, asking me what I was reading. I would tell them and they would laugh, asking me why I would do something so childish and weird.
Those jabs at the hobby that I had grown to love always hurt me. I put a lot of effort into running this game and had fun at the gaming table. However, people were making fun of me for that, calling my choice of entertainment "silly" and "childish". Even today, some people will ask me why do I play a "kid's game" and that I just don't want to grow up.
For the longest time, I didn't really have a comeback and just tried my hardest to ignore them. A few years ago, I discovered a quote from C.S. Lewis that perfectly fits this situation. Here's the quote:
"When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.”Whenever someone makes fun of my hobbies, calling me "childish" for playing roleplaying games and the like, I always think back to this quote and ask, "Isn't it more childish to make fun of another person's hobby and be so obsessed with maturity?" I'm sure the person making fun of RPGs has a hobby that I could ridicule as well, but I choose not to because that's an immature thing to do.
For example, I have never been a big fan of sports. While I played baseball, basketball, and soccer when I was younger, I never really enjoyed it all that much and was glad when my parent's let me quit. I always found watching sports on television incredibly boring. With that being said, I know a lot of people who absolutely love sports (my girlfriend being one of those people) and I don't ridicule them for it. While I personally don't like sports, they do and they have the right to enjoy them, just like I have a right to enjoy roleplaying.
Being tolerant and understanding of other people's likes and hobbies is a sign of maturity in my eyes. While you might not like or understand why someone enjoys a certain thing or hobby, you shouldn't ridicule them for it. If you do, you're just being a dick.
((Question Time: Have you ever had one of your hobbies ridiculed? How did it make you feel? How did you respond to the ridicule? Let me know in the comments))