Yesterday we were eating breakfast with the early risers at our daughter’s house. We planned on attending the early service where they worship and the two older daughters were eating breakfast when the youngest, a four year old entered. She sat in her seat, didn’t say a word, and didn’t respond when her mother asked “Would you like some orange juice?”
We were all looking at this 4-year-old who didn’t crack a smile but looked sullenly ahead.
I said, “Oh dear, she is already acting like a teenager.”
“No,” responded her 6-year-old sister. “She isn’t cool like a teenager.”
We all burst out laughing, which then brought a smile to the face of the four year old.
Now I teach teenagers everyday, and just how “cool” they are is up for debate. (kidding!!!!)
It’s interesting how children perceive older children. They tend to see them as “cool”, a term which is, as I mentioned, open for interpretation. What does it mean to be “cool? Sometimes what is thought of as coolness is disrespectful behavior. An older child who is arrogant or bossy may seem “cool” to a timid or shy child because that is so different or daring.
Coolness sometimes refers to appearance. Yet that varies from year to year and generation to generation. It also is dependant on secular values of what is fashionable. Some of the current fashion trends are immodest and often provocative. A “cool” horse T-shirt may not be “cool” next year!
Our daughters have looked at pictures of themselves when they were young and asked me, “How could you let me dress like that?” I tell them that was what they wanted to wear.
How can we help our children navigate the “coolness quotient?”
Some Christian groups like the Amish and Mennonites have chosen distinct patterns of dress that set themselves apart from the current culture. Yet most of us don’t feel led to follow that kind of mandate, even if we respect the choice of those who do.
Scripture does give guidance, although not specifically using the word “cool”.
I delight greatly in the Lord;
my soul rejoices in my God.
For he has clothed me with garments of salvation
and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness,
as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
Our desire should be to relect God’s presence in our lives. That is of GREATEST importance. As parents and grandparents we need to lead by example and encourage our children and grandchildren that being like Jesus is what is most important.
Coolness by the culture’s standard does not have lasting value.
Being like Jesus has eternal value.
Well said! And emulating Jesus–the real, playful, compassionate, lover of our souls–is the most attractive thing we can do. I find with my 15 year old son, that even though he is not always ‘cool’ by worldly standards, his peers are drawn to him because of his Christ-like love for people. (I’m not bragging on my parenting abilities here, it’s a gift he was seemingly born with!) Lovely post–I’m glad I stumbled upon your site! 🙂