I'm Not Cool
I am not cool. If you have children over the age of 12, you know that it is impossible to be cool after you have children. They will remind you of this if you try to act like you are cool.
I have come to this realization through a number of observations. One of the signs that I am not cool is that I talk on my cell phone. If you removed the function that allows you to carry on an actual conversation from the cell phone of most teens, it might be months before they discovered they could not talk to someone. Your cell phone is for texting, taking selfies, getting online, tweeting, or anything other than talking.
Even worse than that, my cell phone rings. It is not set to the “vibrate” setting unless I am in a meeting or somewhere that the tone might disturb someone else. The cell phones of the cool kids do not ring. It would be a social disaster if your teen’s phone rang, and they answered and started to have a conversation.
The clearest signal that my wife and I are not cool came one night when our daughter had friends over. It was time for everyone to go home, but neither of us wanted to leave the comfort of our room to give them the bad news. In a stroke of true genius, we decided to use the cool method of communication. We sent a text, “If everything is not quiet in five minutes, Mama will be down in her bathrobe.”
“How will we know when they get it?” I asked my wife.
“Trust me,” she said, “we’ll know.”
Apparently the thought of a parent entering the room in a bathrobe is on par with the zombie apocalypse because a few moments later there was a blood curdling shriek from the basement. The shriek was followed by a stampede to the front door. Then came silence until my phone emitted a very uncool tone to let me know a text had come in. “That was not cool,” it read.
“I know,” I texted back.
I have reconciled myself to the fact that my days of being cool are long past. I do not think my children mind that I am not cool. I think they want me to be grounded and reliable. They want me to send that uncool text to let them know where the boundaries are. They want to know that there is someone there who is not as concerned about being cool as they are about keeping them safe and loving them.
I have been a priest for 16 years. I spent the first four years in Minnesota and Wisconsin, six years on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, before becoming the pastor at Advent Episcopal Church in Westlake in 2010. If anyone would find it interesting I have a son and daughter, which I refer to as a matched set, a wife, a dog, and a cat.