I am no longer cool. I realized this this over the past couple years of teaching. I knew it happened when my students started to call me “mamma Stout” or “Ma’am”. It’s not that my students don’t like my class or don’t have respect for me, I feel respected, it is I have just lost my cool factor. I still enjoy my time with my students, but I can see their ‘starry eyes’ for the younger more outspoken teachers. I am actually ok with this. I have reached a time in my life where I do not need to be cool anymore. It is just a great deal of work and effort. I’m tired. I know my worth. I know how cool I am.
I read a meme recently that showed a picture of a busy, tired, messy mom. Above it read “I used to be cool. Then I had kids.” How funny is this. Kids look at their parents and teachers and see this middle-aged boring adult. What they don’t see is the cool, hip, spontaneous, adventurous child and young adult they once were. It’s almost like we need a new app that can peer into the past and allow kids to see how fun their parents and teachers were.
Over the past holiday home to the USA I spent time just chatting with my parents about their childhood and teen years. I have never heard some of the stories and adventures they had. What a fun experience to get them to pull out those ‘cool’ stories. Both of my parents were absolutely amazing and way cooler that I ever was. I knew them as they were over my life, but not until I was in my late 20’s did I ever really think that they were kids once. I thought it might be fun to take time to tell you about their ‘cool’ life stories. Today I will tell you about my dad.
My dad grew up on a farm in Palisade Colorado. He went to Palisade High. Imagine a strong farm boy with a sense of mischief and adventure. He was a boy when you played outside with your buddies until the street light went on and every boy carried a pocket knife and climbed every tree. He used to dig up earthworms and sell them when he was just a little kiddo. He has told me many stories of the area around Palisade where he would venture with his buddies. Trekking up the Bookcliffs, playing hooky, lighting cherry bombs under the bed, building his own car at the age of 12, and calling out ghosts from the toilet. I have always known my dad to have a sense of humor and wonder. He has since he was a boy.
One of his favorite stories is the “Great Watermelon Caper”, where he tells of short lived life of crime. He was a boy and his buddies decided to go to a nearby farmer’s land to steal watermelons. They would take them then float them down the canal to their other buddies waiting for the sweet deliveries. What a hilarious and awesome plan! It would have worked to, if they didn’t get caught! Meddling Kids!! Or the time his buddies and him went skinny dipping after a hot day at school. The principal got a call complaint and went to the canal to get them out. His buddies went running bare foot and bare bum across the dry stubble wheat field with the principal in hot pursuit. My dad said he was laughing so hard he couldn’t get out of the water. So, by the time the principal caught his buddies, my dad had made his way out of the water and gotten dressed. I was in tears when he told me this story, he was too. Dad is a clever man and was clearly a clever lad. I know he was and still is pretty darn cool.
Each one of us has incredible life stories. They are the spicy parts of our lives that make us smile. These stories or life moments are what we live for. The moment may wane over the years, but they are what give us character and personality. Our “cool” never leaves us, but rather shapes our life stories into the “made for movies” adventures we all live.
A few Confessions of Coolness/ Stupidity/ Awesome life stories
• I repelled of the side of a well-known water tower in my hometown
• I have stolen a pizza guys sign off the top of his car. I gave it back.
• I once played with a fire extinguisher…. In a moving car
• I have gone shark cage diving
• I was a mascot
• I have thrown cherry bombs off a well-known cliff location
• I went ice-blocking (sledding on grass with a block of ice)
• I once drove my tiny car with 6 people, a grocery cart, and bicycle all IN the car. (well parts and people were hanging out)
Your Challenge: Make a Cool List! Seriously. How fun it was to relive memories of my family and my childhood. Sit down this week and tell your kids, your students, or just yourself a few of the amazing memorie