Back in the Day: A Primer on Being "Cool"
Are You Cool?
Although it sounds completely biased, my wife and I have two of the greatest boys ever. Their unique circus of reckless abandon, coupled with their extreme softness, brings total joy to our hearts. Sure they have their moments. Don’t we ALL. But for the most part, our dynamic duo is pretty cool; which, if you ask each one, is the number one goal of their kid-centered world.
Being cool. What is it? How do you get it? And why is it so important to kids?
In our home, these time-worn questions linger like dried-up nacho dip. I haven’t a clue. Here’s a case in point.
A few nights back, while enjoying a rare, evening coffee, I was privileged to share a funny, yet enlightening, conversation with one of the neighborhood girls who lives down the street. - I’ll call her Little A.
Ever since our home became a popular stomping ground for many local children, such talks are common. What seems unusual, however, is that almost all these children are girls; which is not necessarily a bad thing.
At first, my wife and I thought this was a bit odd, but it’s true. Our boys are the only boys on the block that play outside. Where are the other testosterone pumpers? To this day we still don’t know. But we’ve grown so accustomed to our gypsy girls (as we like to call them) they really seem like boys to us. And to be totally honest, they act like boys; reckless abandon and all. They like to, as I've often heard: hang with the boys.
The gypsies think they’re cool. Our boys like to think they’re cool. So I guess everybody’s cool around our neck of the woods; everybody except my wife and I that is. Allow me to explain.
“Little A, what kind of phone is that?” I ask.
“Mr. Jundt, this is not a phone. It’s an mp3 player, a camera, it plays games, I can text people, it has different sounds and pictures… it can play the trumpet,”… (You get the picture). Well obviously I don’t because all I saw was a blasted phone. And mind you, these children are 8 years old. So much for being cool in my little world.
“You know, back in the day (don’t you just love that saying?), we didn’t have MP3 players, or DVDs, or video games, or even….. HUSH goes the crowd ... cell phones," I added.
You could have heard a pin drop as the silence entered. Finally, little A asked me,
“Did you have phones at all?” I thought for a while as to how far I would take this charade, but in the end I caved.
“Yes, of course we had phones. The trick was that they all had cords attached, and they were hooked to the wall. You couldn’t just walk and talk in the park or wherever like people do today.”
“Well that sounds kind of boring really,” she replied.
“Yeah, I guess you’re right. It was kind of boring. But you know what? Sometimes boring can be fun and a lot less stressful.”
The word stress seemed to strike a chord with her, because she said that being stressful is bad. Or so she had heard.
“Did you have a TV?” Lil' A questioned.
“Did you watch animal planet?”
“Little A, there were no animals on the planet back in the day,” I replied, silently chuckling.
“Did you have pets?”
“Remember, no animals. Right?”
Well, this couldn’t go on any longer. So I finally fessed up to my little lies. I did tell her, though, how we had one TV with only 5 channels.
“What did you watch then?”
“Most of the time we didn’t watch TV. We played outside. Rode our bikes (with no helmets), drank from the hose (with no filters), climbed trees, jumped into creeks, imagined great battles, became great heroes, threw balls around, broke bones, broke each other’s bones, got muddy, learned curse words (without our parents knowing), played games, read books, learned about God, and ate dinner before 6:30 (without the TV on).”
“Wow Mr. Jundt, that doesn’t sound very cool.”
I rest my point.