- Don’t smile
- Don’t laugh
- Look like you’re bored.
That’s it, and Eli should know. He picked it up from some fellow first graders. Heck, even Arthur Fonzarelli himself would defer to that pool of experts. Suddenly, cool is in for my son and his peers. When did this social climate change take place?
A child doesn’t lose his innocence overnight. It’s a drip, drip drip process. One day you let your kid off at school and he hugs you without caring who is watching. Months later, he avoids your hug and shoots you a sly grin as he races off to meet up with his chums … if you’re lucky.
Eventually just you reaching out to hold his hand in public causes him to yank his arm away in disgust. It’s inevitable.
The cool thing is another story. Who doesn’t want to be cool? Cool is permanently in, and anyone who tells you otherwise is fooling themselves. Adults long to be cool, so why not their kiddies?
A parent’s job, then, is to massage the meaning of the word cool, to make the “right” things cool in the process. Easier said than done, but it’s up to every parent to try.
Here’s what I’ve been telling my son about what truly is “cool.”
- Doing your own thing even if everyone else is doing something different.
- Coming to a school chum’s defense when others target him or her unfairly.
- Embracing your own style.
- Being a leader.
- Listening to your gut, not simply doing what your rambunctious pals think you should do.
- Taking school seriously. Heck, even Fonzie’s on board with that!