(Here’s a chance to, if you haven’t. Go ahead, please. I’ll wait.)
As you just watched, the boy in the green shirt puts his arm around the boy in the striped shirt while he was holding the ball, dusts him off when they fall down, compliments him on his throw, lifts him up to the bar he can’t reach, pretends like he’s about to push him into the water, patiently looks over his shoulder as he plays his video game, recognizes the boy’s crush and encourages him to talk to her and insists she likes him too, takes the “fatal hit” while using sticks to play sword fight, serves him juice, stays awake after he falls asleep watching T.V, takes his shoes off for him, carries him upstairs and lays a blanket over him.
They’re clearly friends, right?
The ad closes with the boy in the striped shirt saying, “Good night, Dad.” Then the dad tells his son good night too.
In those 60 seconds, through play, encouragement, and affection, the dad serves the son.
“It probably comes down to this anyway: The most important things I do in life, and that I am best at doing, are the things for which I’m not regularly thanked. Serving is loving and leading. I get that now… no thank you’s required.”
In a history of commercials making the dad out to be an idiot, finally, somebody really (!) gets it right.
“So, in review, a stubborn, penny pinching, Dave Ramsey following, Generation Y dad like me will magically buy a product for his son if he believes that… the product will reinforce the traditional ideas and principles that remind him of his own 1987 version of childhood and/or… the company makes it clear that dads are helpful and important, not idiots.”
A+, Robinsons “Pals.” You are the official dad ad to beat.
Here’s a secret, Son. A dad can never hear enough, from anyone, that he is a good dad.
To outsiders it may appear to be a sensitive male ego thing, but as a dad, I can confirm that routine, positive affirmation is one of the most effective ways to reach and connect with a dad.
So now, I need to go wipe my nose. I could blame it on the Maple trees blooming here in Nashville, triggering my allergies.
Instead, I’ll just admit it. After watching this ad a few times, I’m pretty tore up, in a good way.
A really weird news story that has been trending for two weeks now is that Yahoo CEO, Marissa Mayer, announced to her employees that she will be banning them from working remotely, starting in June. This didn’t go over well, especially with moms who have been working from home.
“Generation Y is the first generation to expect — from day one — employers to realize there is more to life than work. Just as many Baby Boomers are now discovering later in their careers, Generation Y sees work as a means to enjoy life — and life comes first. They have a strong work ethic — just not in a 9-5 sort of way. Generation Y wants work to be fun and flexible because the line between work and life is seamless. (In other words, there is no such thing as work-life balance because it’s all just one thing.) Generation Y also follows a mantra of working smarter, not harder.
The key for employers is offering flexible work schedules, adjusting the belief that workers need to ‘put in the hours at the desk’ to be effective, and developing a work culture that is pleasant and positive.”
So for any Yahoo employees, this news about no longer being able to work from home is not cool. But it’s especially an insult to those who happen to be parents aged 32 and younger.
Something I have personally observed about Generation Y in the work force, is that we’re not good about keeping our mouths shut when we spot an obvious double standard. We have an (unrealistic?) expectation that our superiors should go by the same restrictions they place on us.
No eating lunch at our desk? No texting during work hours? Fine. Just don’t let us catch our supervisors doing those same things.
“While some people refer to this cohort of people as Generation Why for a reason, it is not so much an issue of a lack of respect for authority as much as it is that this group has been raised by their parents to question everything and raise questions when they don’t understand something.
This generation is very independent and not afraid to challenge the status-quo. Many in Generation Y want a relationship with their boss like the ones they have with their parents. It’s not that these folks have little respect for authority; on the contrary, they feel employers do not respect them.
The key for employers is realizing that asking questions can often lead to answers and solutions that are actually more efficient and effective. Unlike with any other set of workers in the past, employers must also provide more autonomy — and trust Gen Y workers to complete the work.”
I’m curious to see how my Generation Y mindset will affect you as my son. I am proud to be a Generation Y parent. I think you and I are going to have good, open and honest communication.
As for ever hearing me say, “Do as I say, not as I do,” well forget about it.
Question me as your dad and I will be glad to you give you an answer that is not “just because.” Learn by my lived-out examples, not just my words.
It’s very important to me that I’m a good dad… I associate that with my Generation Y work ethic.
In this very moment, here is exactly what’s going through my mind:
You really do have a weird man for a dad.
I realize that’s nothing I need to apologize for. After all, my quirkiness and passionate beliefs are what attracted Mommy to me in the first place.
So ultimately, you are here today because I’m not so normal of an American man.
We’ll make this thing work, though. You’ll turn out fine.
It’s just that I have a feeling as you get older, your friends will all be aware that your dad is… a bit on the eccentric side.
You’ll be the kid with the dad who doesn’t eat meat, doesn’t use any products that contain sodium laurel sulphate, doesn’t use microwaves, doesn’t pay for cable or smart phones, and doesn’t believe in using credit cards.
I’ll be that Libertarian, yet law-abiding; conservative, yet open-minded; Generation Y father who happens to live on the outside of what is often mainstream.
To be honest, I only recently realized how off-beat a demographic I am a part of. As I look back through the letters I’ve written you, I see that often my worldview does not necessarily reflect that of the majority.
So the question is, how will that affect you?
Am I brainwashing you? Probably a little bit. However, I don’t see how I’m brainwashing you any more than any other parent out there.
That’s one of the scary parts about being a parent. As your dad, I greatly influence your worldview, whether I mean to or not.
You can’t choose your parents. I’m the one you ended up with, though.
Whether it’s for better or for worse, I take pride in showing you my version of how the world works and/or how it should work.
Ultimately, what I want for you isn’t any different than what I assume any parent wants for their child:
I want you to know you are loved, you are special, and you are wanted. I want you to be confident in yourself, strong in your beliefs, and caring to others.
You are the product of two Millennial (or Generation Y) parents.
Both Mommy and I were born a few months apart in 1981, the year that began our generation. The way we will parent you will be different as compared to how it would have been if we were part of the generation that ended just a few months before we were born; Generation X was born roughly between 1964 to 1980.
As the sort of first-born of my generation, I am constantly trying to figure out what makes us different from previous generations. After all, people say that Millennials were the first children not to rebel against their parents. That’s pretty weird…
On the surface, it may appear that we are sheltered, narcissistic, jaded by the polar extremes of American politics, motivated by recognition more than money, obsessed with green living, and easily inspired by social justice issues.
I’ll be honest- it wouldn’t be a stretch for someone to describe me in any of those ways. Actually, I wonder how else I appear as a stereotype to other generations of parents.
In fact, I’m so curious about the traits of my generation, especially as they relate to being parents, I have decided to pinpoint 5 token traits of Generation Y parents:
1. They give their own kids either extremely classic or extremely original names. For every Jack there is now a Brody and for every Sarah there is now a Hadley. Millennial parents tend not to name their kids the popular names of their own generation, like Chris and Matt for boys, and Amanda and Jennifer for girls.
2. They want their kids to be, or at least seem, unique. That’s part of the explanation for some of the bizarre baby names popping up these days. Millennials were raised to believe they were special; evidently more special than every other child of The Eighties who was told that. Now, Generation Y parents subconsciously still wish this extra dose of uniqueness on their own kids.
3. Millennial parents are overly self-aware of their parenting style. Everybody’s watching, all the time, thanks the social media outlets and blogs we plug into on a daily basis. We make sure no one can ever question if we’re involved enough in our kids’ lives. To vaccinate or not to vaccinate? To spank or not to spank? To helicopter parent or not to helicopter parent? Those are the questions.
4. Facebook replaces the necessary phone call update and proud wallet pictures of our kids. There’s no real need for us as parents to pick up the phone and update our friends and family on what our kids are doing, nor is there reason those people should be desperately curious to see new pictures of our kids: There’s a constantly updated flow of that on Facebook every day.
5. They are really into what their kids eat. Back in the 1980s, processed food was king. Now, the awareness of disease, cancer, and obesity has caused parents to actually question what “natural and artificial flavor” means. Trust me on this, you don’t want to know. There’s a reason food companies keep those ingredients a mystery.
So there you have it, son. Hopefully I’ve taught you a thing or two about why your parents and your friends’ parents are so quirky…I mean, “special and unique.”
Like many Millennials, I grew up with this unrealistic belief that if I simply had a 4 year college degree, I would be all set.
Instead, I entered a work force where too many people, just like me, already had a college degree. So I wasn’t that special after all.
Now I’ve come to terms with the fact I need to become more special to actually be special.
Right now, we live in a 2 bedroom townhouse. Simply put, I’m not going to be in the right mindset to even think about planning to try to have another child in home with only 2 bedrooms.
I’m just now.
Also, the part of Nashville we live in wouldn’t put our son in the school district we would want him in.
Maybe what I’m saying right now sounds a bit on the superficial side, but I’m just being honest.
I don’t care about driving a nice car or living in a big house, but I recognize the socioeconomic pressures of parenthood prodding me to climb the corporate ladder.
This is me planning my way out of “townhouse life” into “small house with a small yard in a decent school district life.”
If I was still single, I just don’t know that I would be so inspired to try this hard to “move up” in the world.
But now I’ve got two people depending on me. That sort of makes me a bit more motivated.
I have had this re-occurring dream where it’s my final semester of college and I have just realized there was this one class I forgot about.
Then the terror sets in as I realize I won’t be able to graduate on time.
Whenever I have this dream, I wake up in relief, telling myself:
“That’s funny. You graduated college a long time ago. You don’t have to worry about classes anymore. Those days are long gone.”
With that being said, last night, in real life, I started taking a course at Lipscomb University.
I will be spending 3 hours every Wednesday night, through December, in a class that will be preparing me to become HR certified.
Then I still have to pay a couple hundred dollars and spend 3 hours taking the certification test, getting at least 70% of the questions right.
All to become an official HR guy.
Yeah, like Toby and Holly on The Office.
It was only a couple of months ago that I figured this out, but since graduating college, the field I have been working in has been Human Resources; not Sales as I thought. So I’ve decided to make something of it.
Turns out, HR is one of the (few) things in life I’m actually really good at.
It involves mediating between different departments, reading people, and knowing how to motivate them in order to bring productivity up- all that fun stuff.
I have a natural talent of playing the role of a middle child; the ultimate mediator.
Interestingly, most of the responsibilities of Human Resources seem to translate pretty well in to my role at home, especially as the dad:
Educating, training, empowering, and rewarding.
I’m always in the middle of stuff, trying to help everyone communicate better and always looking for new strategies and protocols to improve efficiency in the long run.
So whether in the office and in my home, I guess I’m pretty much the Human Resources department. But I’m cooler than Toby Flenderson.