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Reconcilable Differences: 43: Pack Mule With A Checkbook

John Siracusa discussing dad jokes and one of the many roles of the parent in the child’s life:

The dad who comes into a gathering of his child’s peers and is charming and cool… that is the worst thing you can do to your child…

They [your children] don’t want all of their friends to think you are awesome and cool because they feel that that diminishes them… it starts to become [their] whole world - the idea of you wanting to, not impress [their] peers or look good in front of [their] peers, but having the approval of [their] peers. Whoever they may be, whoever [they] decide [their] peers are. At least to fit in with them…

The idea that someone would willingly go into a group and not even make an attempt at [fitting in] and - in fact - do the opposite of that seems laughable. It is freeing in that now they are free, in the terrible clique way… if they can find a common enemy, it will unite them… If they are all going to giggle and laugh at how dorky you are that is preferable to them beating up on the weird person.

I enjoy this podcast - especially when they talk about parenting. What John said about the father acting uncool in front of his kid’s friends was a revelation to me. I had a few friends with a cool dad. They were funny, charming, they had great stories, and we loved it when they hung around. My dad was never the cool dad. When I was a kid, even into my early adulthood, my friends would never ask him to hang around when we got together and I can remember thinking, “I wish my dad was cool” but he was doing exactly what he should have been doing.

Part of being a parent is not making yourself seem cool in front of your child’s friends. It is making your child seem cool - even if it means making yourself decidedly uncool.

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