“LAME.” That’s the word kids used to describe their parents when I was kid. Today, I don’t know what a “lame” parent would be called? Maybe “stiff” or “wack”? Who the heck knows. For the sake of intelligence and decent grammar usage, I am just going to continue with the word lame. And, do you know what else I am going to do? I am going to teach you — yes all you parents out there — how to not be lame.
You may be a little curious about what I am going to say. You may also even be apprehensive of the ways I may instruct you to avoid being lame. Will you be able to follow my suggestions? Will you be able to remain “cool” in the eyes of your kiddo? For darn sure. Now let’s check out the suggestions:
* Avoid being lame by being present. Yep. The lamer you are, the less you are around. If you want to truly be cool, be the parent that is there for their child, always next to or behind them, encouraging them and supporting them.
* Avoid being lame by refraining from labeling your child or any children. You know what is lame? LABELS. Labels are lame. And if they are even the slightest bit negative, they should be avoided when speaking around or to your children. If you can’t avoid labeling them, you most definitely must ensure that you are labeling them with a term that adequately acknowledges their greatness and importance in this world.
* Avoid being lame by having awareness — awareness of what is happening outside of you, your marriage, your workplace, on your cell phone, the list goes on. Parents that are cool are those who are aware of their children, and are tuned in with their children’s personalities, likes, dislikes, quirks, etc.
* Avoid being lame by caring about your child’s education. Don’t let your child settle for “okay”. Push them to be great, within reason. Remind them how smart they are, encourage and praise their hard work. Additionally, help motivate them and provide them any and all support when they need it.
* Avoid being lame by discouraging your child to strive for perfection. Almighty perfection is not the holy grail, despite what some believe. Love your children’s imperfections and inspire them to do the same.
* Avoid being lame by not yelling any more. The more you yell, the lamer you are. The real “cool” ones are those that know how to remain calm amidst challenges. Yep, those people recognize and understand that yelling serves no constructive purpose except to irritate the one being yelled at, and re-enrage the person yelling.
* Avoid being lame by reassuring your child that your love for them is unconditional. Our children need to be reminded that even when they are “in trouble” and even when they have made mistakes, their parents still love all the fibers of their being. This reassurance for your child is of extreme importance, as it is so easy for children (and adults) to believe that our mistakes define us, and this can very traumatically affect our relationships.
* Avoid being lame by ensuring that your child knows how to handle peer pressure situations. This is a must. The “cool” parent is not the parent that condones underage drinking and similar activities. The “cool” parent is not the parent that wants his son to be “one of the boys”. A “cool” parent knows the hidden dangers inside of peer pressure situations, and wants to ensure their child is more than capable of finding their way out of them.
* Avoid being lame by being a model of good standards for them. Yep, one of the simplest ways to not be lame — just be a damn good example.
I sure wouldn’t describe myself as “cool,” as I have a lot to work on with regard to my own suggestions above. Still, I know that any day of the week I would rather be “cool” than “lame”, and what’s really freakin’ cool is a parent trying to be the best darn parent (and human being) they can be.