It’s a tale as old as time and no not beauty and the beast — well not in the Disney sense anyway — but the eternal battle between the haves and the havenots, the 1% and the rest of us, those we envy and the other we despise; the nerds vs the cool kids. It’s a subjective philosophical tale of good verus evil depending which end of the spectrum you choose to view things. Of course we all think we’re cool. There are those select few of us who are uniquely aware and embrace their social awkwardness. Cool kids can’t imagine why someone would choose to be on the outskirts of the social pecking order when they can chose differently never contemplating that some members of the population are more comfortable on the outskirts. Or better yet deem “cool” as being the “weird” outer rim that society reluctantly chooses to sit on. Whatever your take on the subject matter however the preverbal “cool kid” is a concept we can all relate to: the person who is always socially at ease no matter the environment through continued “access” to networks, places and experiences that are unique in their nature. Members of the “in” crowd are just that; “in” the mix of socially/culturally relevant things consistently.
I think the biggest manifest blooms in high school, attaches to our sub conscience psyche and metamorphoses into an ongoing push and pull throughout our social circles despite our most valiant efforts of “maturing”.
Parenting is no different. And as a dad you are always battling being cool vs being a parent. Can you do both? Yes. Can you do both consistently? Probably not. See parenting, like sex or cooking or chocolate probably fundamentally has the same make up and DNA as it did a century ago. Your job as a parent — besides creating amazing memories — is to guide and develop another human being to contribute to this world positively by living up to their full potential. If that sounds too daunting tough, that’s the job. The secret is you should be trying to do that within your OWN life [hard to teach someone something you have never done]. And since you can’t Youtube being a good person, you actually have to try doing it. Now who should think you’re cool you or your kids? Well actually neither opinion matters much. You will always think you are cool, just like your parents did. You’re not. Your kids will think you are cool when you do what they want. That means it has a waning shelf life.
You will be cool when your daughter is 5 and an annoying pest when she is 15. Such is life. So I’ll give you this advice now: you are CEO of your family. CEO’s are paid for their vision, seeing things before they are actually happening in the marketplace so in a way their ability to recognize and develop potential. Every parent should see and realize their kid has boundless potential that can take them places yet unimagined.
So to be cool or not to be cool. Not to be cool. Listen if your goal is to “fit in” as a parent I would implore you not to. As a CEO you are responsible for way more paychecks then your own. And people remember how things ended up, not how they got there. So if you had to change everything the company did and was used to in order to become #1 in the marketplace; you are forgiven as a leader. If you have to stop to explain every little thing just to make everyone happy eventually people will think you are nice but wish they had different leadership. You can’t be fired as a parent but you don’t want to run your company (kid) into the ground. Bedtime, eating vegetables, wearing warm clothing, being active, doing homework, being nice to people, etc are all things kids at one point may resist on, but listen Bill Gates you see the vision! You know what these values when instilled early will blossom into, so implementing them is bigger than the gripes against them!
The end goal should be an amazing person that has learned life with the help of your guidance, to do that you must be willing to do things that make you not cool. You aren’t your son or daughter’s friend. You are their parent. They will have only one of you and if you do your best plenty of the other thing, which will make you very cool. Trust me.
– A Single Dad