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.
This post was originally published on April 27, 2006.