Sunday, August 1, 2010

Get cool

When we hear the word cool, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? In this day and age, some would probably say earning their first-ever million bucks, winning the lottery or owning a limited edition Lamborghini car.

But that’s too far worldly. Let us stick to the basics. Being a Mom is the coolest thing ever. In fact, cool Moms raise cool kids. Cool moms produce cool teenagers. Shiloh said, “Cool mom; cool kids”. Nice touch.

What does it take to become a cool parent? Yes, indeed what makes a cool mom or dad?

Here are some tips to becoming the world’s coolest Mom:

First, patience to listen. How many times do we hear our kids say, Mom, you are not listening! Or worse, they mimic our mouth movement using hand gestures. Haha. Can you visualize it? Listen, listen, listen. Even if you are doing something important, drop it. Nothing beats a listening Mom. She is the best ever.

Second, talk. Simple. Just talk to your kids. You listen to them, then talk to them. It takes time, energy and patience but you just need to do it. Whether they are kids or teenagers does not matter. What matters is we talk to them.

Third, get to know their friends. There will be sleepovers while they are teenagers and you just need to welcome, support and embrace it. It is the best way to know their friends. If they belong to a group, get to know the rest of the group. Like for instance, my son Hezekiah belongs to CornerBoyz. It is an all-male dance group. I support the group totally, even on Facebook.

Fourth, acquaint yourself with their fashion sense. Tough luck huh! Your fashion sense and theirs normally clash. Hello we come from two different generations! That’s why it is cool and hip to keep abreast with the latest fashion trends among teens.

Fifth, let them vent. There will always be days when they come home from school looking sore and sour. Let them vent. Soon enough you will learn that a classmate is totally annoying: your kid wants to trash her but did not. Or the teacher’s pronunciation is irritatingly wrong, totally disappointing your teenager. Or the tricycle driver sucks for overcharging. The list could go on. Just be there when they start exorcising their negative vibes. I promise you, it is very helpful.

Sixth, discuss relevant topics with them. When then President-elect Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III was about to be inaugurated into office, my teenagers and I watched the entire proceeding on television. I urged them to watch with me explaining that what is happening is history unfolding before their very eyes. President Aquino will serve for six years. By the time he leaves the job, my kids would have finished their college education. These are the teenagers that President Aquino will lead towards the future.

Seventh, make market day a group effort. Involve them. Yeah, our present day realities bring us to the malls to buy groceries instead of the old reliable public market. It is more convenient, among the other competitive advantages it provides, but hey what’s the fuss! It serves the purpose. The teenagers will either complain or find all the excuses available in the book not to join, but you must maintain authority. It is not only a wonderful bonding time; it also teaches them the stuff that real life is made of.

Eight, treat them as adults when it comes to the state of the household or family life. This is very essential. We should not baby talk our children when issues affecting family life are concerned. When somebody is seriously ill, they have to be told the real score. When finances are tight, they must be informed. They should be part of the planning and implementation process. They must find their voice in the family. I don’t believe in sugar-coating the bad stuff because we fear our teenage kids are too young to process it. Never underestimate the capacity of your teenagers to think like adults. You will be surprised what insight you can get from them. Treat them like adults and they will behave like one during challenging times.

Ninth, walk the talk. Needless to say, parents are the leaders at home. Behave like one. Act like one. Don’t abandon leadership or transfer leadership to some other family members. Leadership also encompasses spirituality. All families require spiritual anchor to keep the balance. If you are full materially but zero spiritually, it still amounts to nothing. At the core of your being, you must find a connection to God. What we do will be the greatest measure of our character and principles. Our children look at our lives. They mimic us.

Tenth, be their gentle but firm guide and mentor, appreciative and objective one-woman cheer squad, faithful and devoted supporter and most of all, No. 1 fan. Yes, you may not know it, but your children are your No. 1 fans! So reverse the process, make them feel No. 1 and you will have their undying devotion.

If you think that you have covered all the bases here, congratulations! You are a cool Mom. If you are half-way there, don’t fret, you are surely on your way to becoming a cool Mom!

Food for thought: Parents are the hinge on which a civilization pivots. They determine whether the door of the future swings open or closed. >Tim Kimmel

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