On Coolness

Johntravolta01 Hubs and I are not cool.  I listen to Barry Manilow with regularity, and Hubs (I’m not kidding) once watched a two-hour PBS documentary on Shitake mushrooms.  I mean, we’re fun to be around, we’re blessed with lots of friends, but do not have that quintessential whatever-it-is that makes a person supremely cool (which, I might add, is perfectly fine with us). 

It would stand to reason that two un-cool parents would produce equally un-cool offspring, wouldn’t it?  If this were biological fact, then someone switched our second son at the hospital.

Stephen, age 7, is naturally cool.  He can smoothly navigate any social situation, and he effortlessly finds himself at the center of the crowd wherever he goes.  He’s a born leader, regularly forming (and heading) "clubs" of boys on the playground.  He certainly didn’t learn this skill from us, so somewhere in this little boy’s genetic code there must be a DNA molecule wearing an iPod.   

Case in point:  Stephen has a growing awareness of what music is popular right now–an awareness that was getting out of hand.  He was coming home from school singing Gwen Stefani (whose music I actually like, but not all her lyrics belong in the mouth of a 1st grader).  So one evening Stephen and I sat down at the computer together to create him a CD of "cool" music with a positive message.  We browsed through the Newsboys and Worship Jamz, but Stephen insisted on hearing a preview of any song we downloaded.  Because, in his words, "I want to make sure it sounds like hip-hop, not funk.  I don’t like funk."  Hip-hop?  Funk?  Where is he getting this stuff–on the playground?  Doesn’t anyone play Red Rover these days?

When we stumbled upon the Newsboys song WooHoo, my blond-haired, snaggle-toothed boy exclaimed (in his best gangsta voice), "Aww, yeah, Mom, that’s TIGHT!"  "Tight?" I asked him.  He just grinned.  "Yeah, you know, tight.  Good.  Cool." 

(And may I pause to point out that I correctly used the term "gansta" in the previous paragraph, so perhaps there is hope for me still).

While Stephen’s coolness is entertaining, we’re not so naive to miss this red flags in this.  He may be a little too sophisticated for his own good, and I sometimes feel my hands tightening around the reins, gearing up for what may be a bumpy ride through adolescence.  Very often I ask God to hold that hip little heart in His hands, and use Stephen’s social giftedness to draw others to Him.  Mercifully, even in Stephen’s coolness, he is blessed with a soft heart and a natural compassion.  He told me last week that his current playground "club" meets under the slide at recess to "pray and talk about being nice to girls." If you ask me, I’d say that’s pretty tight.

38 thoughts on “On Coolness

  1. Julie says:

    How sweet. I love his latest club under the slide. I remember doing things like that in grade school although I was definitely NOT cool, but somehow cool enough if that makes sense.
    When I get overwhelmed by my 6yr old’s energy and overactive imagination I just remember that, if harnessed correctly, he will be an awesome warrior for God one day.

  2. meredith says:

    I think you are in for a fun, but good ride through life with that boy. And that’s great that you would take the time of finding appropriate music for him to listen to.
    I took my youngest girl out of a dance class after hearing the music they danced to. I guess the instructor thought because it was in english, no one would understand the words.

  3. Kathryn, DYM says:

    I really like the new design and I’m sure this whole post was very fascinating, gangsta white boy, possible hard adolesence and such – but I CAN NOT get over the mushroom documentary thing… and I make documentaries.

  4. Faf says:

    I think you two are VERY cool…so there…and I think Stephen…well, let’s hope he can make being a “Stand Up and Yell from the Mountians” Christian a very cool thing…there are cool kids at church too…I should know, I always wanted to be one.
    See you tonight! Fafa

  5. Chaotic Mom says:

    Know what? My hubby and I are glad we were both geeks growing up, we kind of understand eachother better that way. And NOW our challenge is to help our boys be okay with being “not cool”, too. I’m not looking forward to their teenage years…
    Man, you have a CUTIE PIE! I think my middle son MIGHT be like that, too. I mean, where did HE come from, right? 😉

  6. Millicent says:

    that is so awesome that his new little club prays! and the being nice to girls..wow! at that age I didn’t think any little boy wanted to be nice to girls!

  7. peach says:

    You’re totally my kind of cool, Shannon! Tho’ we’re not big on shiitake mushrooms, we’ve been known to watch other PBS documentaries, too.
    I’ll will be praying along with you for that sweet, “hip”, little boy you have. My Sweetcheeks is the same way only on the girly side. My prayer is she chooses to walk the straight and narrow path instead of walking on the edge — which seems to be her preference already.

  8. Diane says:

    What a totally cool mom you are! You are keeping on top of this…so I don’t think those red flags are going to be a problem!
    Check out T-Bone….he is an amazing young man–former gangsta himself. He is a Christian rapper…and worth checking out. I don’t know if your totally cool–hipsta son likes rap–but thought I would mention it.
    I’m so glad you are encouraging your son’s interest. Sometimes they are completely different from our own–isn’t God so cool Himself–we are each uniquely designed!

  9. carrie says:

    Haha, that’s too funny. I think cool is determined by the type of clique you’re in (everybody’s in one!), so you’re definitely cool in the mommy blogger clique! 🙂

  10. Anne Glamore says:

    We’ve found some Christian rap and rock that my 4th grader likes. Audio Adrenaline and DC Talks??
    I may have to double check these names– he’s at school.

  11. Tiff says:

    Now that is tight!! I know it seems scary that they learn these things and my daughter has also came home singing several songs “I wasn’t aware she knew”; however, it seems that you are doing a great job as parents and making him aware of what is “positive” cool. In my opinion, that seems like pretty “cool” parenting to me!

  12. mopsy says:

    Great post!
    We took our 7yo son (by himself!) to a Newsboys concert and he had the time of his life. If they swing into OK, make it a point of going.
    Some moms above mentioned Christian rap—I’d recommend Toby Mac. He was/is a member of DC Talk and he recently did a solo project. My boys like him, too.

  13. Gabriela says:

    LOL. My husband and I have really lost some “coolness” after 10 years of marriage. I haven’t bought a recent CD in YEARS. We are stuck listening to music that we liked in HS. I didn’t think that could ever happen to me. Oh well.
    Your son does sound cool! (and sweet)

  14. Shannon in Surprise, Arizona says:

    That is AWESOME Shannon. I loved the reading today. It touched my heart. I actually use the word tight and understand the lingo….my 3 year old has picked up Dude, Sweet, and Cool from me. He will look at his hair and say tis cool mama tis cool. Watch Thomas and yell Sweet Mama Sweet! But, in all his coolness I too, need to remember to remind him what life is all about and who we serve. So lately we have been having the talk about God. So reading your story about Stephen was touching because it shows the values he has been taught are there and that a mother’s prayer…is working.

  15. Kate says:

    Oh Shannon you are so cool – just look at the title of your blog – how cool is that?!!
    My son was just asking about Shitake mushrooms. He heard the word somewhere and now wants to read about them… I have no clue about them!
    “Yeah Mom, that’s tight!” I was reading this and going – what does tight mean?! I’m so not hip anymore! Too funny.
    There’s lots of value to what you say… 🙂

  16. Traci says:

    My almost 5 yr old already prefers the music that “bumps” (as he puts it). There is a site called http://www.christian-hiphop.net. You can actually “Listen Live” and hear all kinds of hip hop christian music. I listen every now and then to get ideas for songs to download for him. Some of it is a little to “hip hop” for my taste, but every now and then I will hear one that I really like too.
    As the parent of a follower, I hope my son befriends a little leader like yours when he starts kindergarten this year.

  17. Gibee says:

    My goodness! Who knew that my time working with youth and trying to find alternative Christian music for them would pay off and help a 1st grader?
    You’ll probably love this… not sure about your son, though … Hip Hop Hymns by the Brentwood Kids — you can get it here (and all the others below, too): Christian Book dot com
    Here are some Christian Hip Hop artists … Grits, Choze, 4th Avenue Jones, Mo Bigga, DJ Maj, Mars ILL, KJ-52, TobyMac, Love Jones, John Reuben, LA Symphony, Deepspace 5, Mr. Del, Dynamic Twins, Infinity, R-Swift
    I also know a bunch of Christian HARD rock/headbanger groups if anyone is interested! Just email me!
    Hope this helps make you even cooler in the eyes of your son, Shannon!

  18. Shalee says:

    Now, see here… In my book you are cool. So it stands to reason that your kids would have some of you rub off on him. You’ve got him pointed in the right direction so that is half the battle. Keep praying for him and God will see him through.
    And Gibee, all I can say is that you are a wonder… An absolute fountain of knowledge on all things hip hop and hard rock that I did not even know existed. It’s good to know a source when it is my turn.

  19. mary says:

    Wow, I don’t know if I could even raise a child today. I don’t knwo how my parents did it. All I have to worry about is getting home in time so the pups don’t mess in the kennel.

  20. chilihead2 says:

    Knowing this boy personally, I can honestly say it’s a riot to watch and hear about. He’s a doll. He may be cool, but he always has time to address me as “Mrs. so-and-so” instead of “hey!” Shannon, you’re doing a wonderful job raising those boys the right way!

  21. flipflop says:

    Okay then….yellow it is (for the time being anyway). 😉 I’m learning new lingo (sp?) everyday. It’s a whole new world out there.

  22. mimi2six says:

    Actually, Shannon, it’s genetic; he gets his “cool” from his maternal grandmother!!!!!

  23. April 1930s . . . Your Stitchery Friend says:

    LOVE THIS! Tight? Wow – let’s see… hip, groovy, rad, cool, nice, tight… what word will come next in these generationally “neat” descriptives? Regardless, sounds like you and your husband’s uncoolness really is producing some tightness by way of playground activity.

  24. rsd says:

    I will never forget watching your middle child in the park in Colorado as he played frisbee with several college guys. He held his ground with them — joking and talking with them as if he was their age. And this was when he was probably 6!!!

  25. Brenda says:

    Shannon, that is too cool! I was never part of the “in” crowd at school, but to me, it was cool to be a Christian.
    A few years ago, I had the honor bestowed upon me by my girls who confessed (aloud, believe it or not) that I was cool. Alas, those years are long gone. As the mom of teenagers, I may never be cool again.
    However, in my book, you rock! And what an awesome kid!

  26. HolyMama! says:

    oh, he is so sweet! more boys should meet under the slide and talk about praying and being nice to girls. way more.
    (what can be said about shitakes for two whole hours?!)

  27. Heth says:

    “a DNA molecule wearing an iPod”
    You are so stinking hilarious. I love that he can tell hip-hop from funk. Soooo cute.

  28. Vivian says:

    A friend forwarded me your Blog today. Im all honesty, I couldn’t imagine WHY she was sending this to me. After copying and pasting the url and successfully reaching your page, I decided to see what it was about and my browsing bought me to this story. Stephen sounds like just the thing YOUR “uncool” life needed. I am so happy to hear how his presence has blessed you and your family. It has definitely blessed me with a smile today. Can’t wait to hear more. Peace.

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