No matter how cool of a dad I may be in my son’s eyes now, I’m led to believe that will all change about a decade or so from now.
But as for the time being, Jack looks to me as a leader in many aspects on how to be a guy. A cool guy, might I add.
While playing “Animals” with him, if I place a chicken on top of a horse on top of a truck, he will instantly repeat that awesome thing his dad just did.
Jack thinks all the cool kids have a blow-up mattress in their living room, which serves as a necessary wrestling mat. Because his dad set one up for him.
And several years from now, when I teach him to play Chess with me, I’m sure it will become our mutual obsession. Same thing goes for when I help him become the only kid in his class to solve a Rubik’s Cube… in less than 3 minutes.
Unless I’m the exception to the rule, then in theory, at some point I will stop being considered cool with the age 18 to 35 demographics.
As a modern young dad, wearing plaid or cargo shorts is in style. Wearing pleated khaki shorts, on the other hand, is not.
Similarly, being a fan of Dave Matthews Band and Jason Mraz means I have good taste in music.
But at some point, will my love for their music be a sign that I’m out of touch with what is cool?
Granted, I’ll never be a skinny jeans kind of guy. So if that’s what’s cool, I’ve already missed that boat. (Fortunately!)
But for now, I’m a 31 year-old dad who assumes the culture of a 25 year-old guy; minus the iPhone.
Jack thinks I’m the coolest guy in the world, even if by default.
It’s amazing how much I don’t care about celebrities, yet I can tell you that Lady Gaga’s real name is Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, that Russell Brand is 6′ 1″, that John Mayer is half Jewish, and that Beyonce is from Texas.
I don’t want to know how many girls Ashton Kutcher cheated on Demi Moore with or who Jennifer Aniston is currently dating.
Yet by proximity, I sort of do know these things because I am somehow constantly in the Thirty Mile Zone, exposed to the essence of all this useless knowledge about famous people.
We all know that school teachers are some of the hardest working people in America, yet their earned income doesn’t support this concept. Meanwhile, the sports stars, actors, and artists we worship get paid by the millions.
The irony here is that while our government is ultimately responsible for paying our school teachers so relatively little, we as a society decide that athletes, actors, and musicians are worth the money they earn when we pay to be entertained by them.
I would love to believe I honestly don’t get all caught up in celebrity hype. Yet I think back to a few years ago when I happened to be at Whole Foods while Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman were having lunch there.
Where was I? Along with others who were trying to inconspicuously take a picture of them with their cell phones. But the picture was “for my wife.” She’s a big Country music fan…
That event showed me that I was still willing to contribute to the habit of A) worshipping famous people and B) degrading them to spectacles, rather than just another married couple that happened to be eating lunch that day in an organic grocery store.
I’m not okay with worshipping rich and famous people.
Instead, I want to sincerely honor, both inwardly and outwardly, the people in the world who are great examples to us all. Not the people who have become millionaires by entertaining the world, but instead, the people who best demonstrate what it means to love your neighbor as yourself.
As a dad, I want my son to see that it’s the non-famous people in our lives who are most important.
It’s the people who don’t simply entertain us, but the ones who also motivate us and challenge us to become better human beings. The ones who give us direction. The ones who love us unconditionally. The ones we can never truly impress or disappoint.
Sounds like right now I’m describing the way I feel about my son. I am, actually.
I don’t even watch sports, nor do I have cable, but yet still I have been unable to ignore the relevance of the 24 year-old quarterback for the Denver Broncos; Mr. Tim Tebow.
Even I know that this guy, according to Wikipedia, inspired 92 million people to Google “John 3:16″ after he wore the phrase in his eye paint during the 2009 BCS Championship Game. Then in 2010 for the Super Bowl, he starred in a pro-life commercial for Focus on the Family.
Since then his popularity, along with the public’s knowledge of his Christian faith, has grown big enough for me, Mr. “I Don’t Care About Sports,” to know all about this Tebow guy. Love him or hate him; he’s totally relevant in American pop culture now.
Just mention his name on your Facebook wall and see what happens.
Of course, Tebow isn’t the only outspoken evangelical Christian to continually make headline news this year.
Sure, they may make their own clothes from time to time, but the Duggars are cool. America has come around to realize this. The authenticity of this family’s love for one another, as well as for others, is undeniable. I think that’s one of the reasons America is fascinated with them.
What may have started as a “let’s watch the modern day Waltons” concept on TLC back in 2008 has officially become a staple for the network. While earlier in the year I heard many people making comments like “When are they finally going to stop having babies?” many of those same people now feel an authentic sense of sadness as the Duggars have recently went public with the knowledge of their recent miscarriage.
From financial guru Dave Ramsey to blogger-turned-author Jon Acuff (Stuff Christians Like and Quitter), born-again Christians are sneaking into mainstream American pop culture with relevance, therefore gaining the respect of not only Christians, but also (maybe even more importantly) those who do not claim a religious stance.
I feel like it wasn’t always this way. It could have something to do with the fact that less Americans identify themselves as Christians compared to prior decades. Therefore, “Christian” has become less of a generic term in our society. So while agnostics and atheists have become more respected and accepted by the general population, so have Christians.
Honestly, I like it better this way. We can all be truthful about who we really are now.
These days, if you take the effort to identify as a follower of Christ, I think it means more than ever before. But if you do, people definitely expect you to be different. In fact, it seems the main problem people seem to have with Christians is when they’re not different enough from mainstream society.
Here on The Dadabase, does the fact that I’m an evangelical Christian make a difference in my writing? Does it season my viewpoint accordingly? Does it even make a difference? Is that part relevant in the society of today’s parents? Do people even want my Christian perspective on being a dad?
I’m hoping the answer is yes.
The tricky part is, Christians are supposed to be humble. How can any Christian in the mainstream spotlight be open about their faith, have a solid opinion about anything, and still be perceived as a sincere Christian? In essence, the term Christian celebrity is an oxymoron.
Don’t ask me how, but all week my wife and I have had the theme song to the ‘80’s sitcom Mr. Belvedere stuck in our heads. In the mindset of “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em”, we downloaded the song as our ringtones for when we call each other. That has caused me to revisit some of my most favorite theme songs from these sitcoms that served as the backdrop of my childhood. A very interesting trait that many of these TV shows had in common with each other (and accordingly, the lyrics to their theme songs) is that premise was that an outsider moved into the household, therefore throwing normalcy out of whack. Which totally relates to what’s going through my head right now about our upcoming new addition, a baby boy. (In order to qualify, the sitcom had to actually start in the 1980′s; Diff’rent Strokes, Mork and Mindy, and The Facts of Life don’t qualify since since they premiered in the ’70′s.)
For example, here’s a sitcom that had it all, yet could have only existed in the 1980’s: An all-American family, laugh tracks, and an Alien puppet. Of course, I’m referring to Alf. While the song had no words (instead it sounded like what would happen if you pressed the “demo” button on a $200 Casio keyboard in 1988), the thought of a little creature running around the floor chasing cats loosely translates having a baby boy. For Family Matters, the intended outsider was Estelle Winslow who moved in with her son Carl’s family, though unexpectedly the true outsider instead became Steve Urkle (intended only as a guest star) instead a few episodes into the first season.
In Mr. Belvedere, a British butler moves in with an American family living in Philadelphia: “Sometimes things get turned around and no one’s spared… There’s a change in the status quo. Preparing for our new arrival. We might just live the good life yet…”
Another prime example is from one of my favorite sitcoms ever, which happens to have my favorite TV show theme song ever. In Perfect Strangers, city slicker Larry Appleton is thrown for a curve when his distant cousin Balki moves from his mysterious Mediterranean village to live with Larry in Chicago: “Sometimes the world looks perfect- nothing to rearrange. Sometimes you just get a feeling that you need some kind of change…”
In Full House, it was Joey and Uncle Jesse who mixed things up by moving in with the Tanner family: “What ever happened to predictability?”
There was CBS’s version of Diff’rent Strokes: Webster. As a kid, I actually liked Webster more than Arnold: “Til there was you…”
The next two sitcoms both premiered in 1984 and featured an Italian-American who moved into the household as a “manny”. Who’s the Boss? contains my 2nd favorite theme song ever and often caused me to believe that Tony Danza was my uncle: “You might awaken to a brand new life around the bend…”
Even though I never watched it, I know it was a big deal to a lot of people- Charles in Charge: “New boy in the neighborhood…”
You’re welcome… for being led into a world of nostalgia. It’s pretty much a fact that you’ll be struggling to get one of those songs out of your head for the rest of the day. So being such a sentimental guy as I am, I’ve been thinking about the current events that are going on right now. That way I can tell Jack what was going on around the time he was born:
Interestingly, on November 5th, the movie Due Date hit theatres. Daylight Savings was two days later; meaning that when it’s that time again to set back the clocks every year, it will almost be time for Jack’s birthday. Conan O’Brien’s new show premiered this week (November 8th) and sure enough on last night’s episode during the monologue Conan pointed out that it was exactly nine months ago that his gig at The Tonight Show ended; so if because two people felt sad for Conan losing his job they decided to “get frisky” to be happy again, their child would be born this week. Good call.
It will also be pretty neat that I will be able to show Jack the November 2010 issue of American Baby, in which in his birth was anticipated. He is not making his debut unannounced; that’s for sure. Today, November 11th, is not only Jack’s due date but it’s also my dad’s birthday, whose name is also Jack. So even though he won’t have the same exact birthday as my dad, their birthdays will always be close.
Of all the pregnancy advice I’ve been given, the one thing no one warned me about is this: For first time moms, it’s normal and expected to not delivery until a full week after the due date. So if you or your wife are approaching your due date, don’t do like I did and get all psyched, thinking the water is going to break at any moment. Because then everyone is constantly asking for and expecting baby news, but sure enough, the baby is unaware of his due date. He’s coming out when he’s good and ready.
I have to remind myself that my baby is not a Hot Pocket, with an exact predetermined time of two minutes in the microwave. In fact, that would be pretty weird if he truly was born right near the due date. We went to the doctor today. Thank God, Baby Jack has still got a strong heartbeat and is in a good position. He’s turned the correct way and everything. But as far as when he gets here, I’m sure it will be the moment that I (and everyone else) least expects it. He’s a sneaky little guy.
All pictures with the “JHP” logo were taken by Joe Hendricks Photography: