One morning this week I walked outside and was greeted by sweet smelling, pleasantly crisp air. Rain from the night before had gifted us with comfortable temperatures, a welcome break from the oppressive heat that has been plaguing us for weeks on end. So after the kids finished their morning chores, I suggested that we sit outside for our daily Bible lesson. Most of the kids were excited about the change in routine. One, however, was not.
"In the front yard?" Ethan asked incredulously.
"Of course in the front," I replied, "the dogs will jump all over us if we go to the back."
"I'll put them in the garage," he said quickly and firmly, "I DO NOT want to do Bible out front."
"Come on, it's no big deal," I responded as I walked out the front door balancing four Bibles, 15 scripture memory cards, and two lesson books.
He reluctantly followed and we joined the other kids, who were waiting expectantly on the front walk. I proceeded with our Bible lesson, but Ethan was hesitant to participate. There was more than one eye roll, a few heavy sighs, and a blatant lack of audible recitation when we said our memory verses together. I saw him scurry to hide the illustrated "baby Bible" when a delivery truck drove by during our prayer time. He even verbalized, "I DO NOT want to do this or anything else out here, it's so embarrassing", when a couple of ladies walked by (on the other side of the road) during their morning walk.
I was disturbed. What had gotten into my sweet boy?
I talked to him alone afterward. The ugly truth is this: My ten year old has been bitten by the "cool" bug. And sitting out on your front walk, reading the Bible or doing your lessons with your mom and younger siblings apparently falls DEEP into uncool waters.
Man, I hate this. I've seen it coming. With his penchant toward flat billed hats, the effort to learn to like pop music, and the recent request for an abercrombie shirt (because, even if you hate the look of the shirt, it's still better than one you actually like because it has those 11 little letters on it, right?).
Now, before you start saying things like, "He's just at that age", "All kids go through this", "It was bound to happen at some point", "It's normal". Let me just say this.
I. Don't. Care.
I don't care how normal it is. I don't care how many kids go through it. You can brush it off with as many cultural rationalizations as you want. I am not assuaged.
Living for "cool" is a trap. It's an enemy. It's temporary, and unsatisfying, and insubstantial, and selfish. It's a manifestation of fallen-ness. Yes, I realize my children are fallen. But they will only be sucked in to living for "cool" over my cold, lifeless, un-chic body.
What's the big deal, you ask? Yes, I can read minds (isn't that cool?)
One word. One powerful but undervalued word.
Some people live their entire lives trying to be something that everyone else thinks they should be. Trying to wear what everyone else thinks they should wear. Saying what everyone else thinks they should say. Listening to what everyone else thinks they should listen to.
These people live empty, shallow, unfulfilling lives. Why? Because cool doesn't last. Just when you think you have reached this unattainable goal of fitting in, or have even become the awe-inspiring trend setter, "cool" changes, and you inevitably come crashing down, lying on the ground, your fleeting hipness being trampled by the next trend.
It's a sad existence. And not what I want for my kids.
I want them to be genuine. Real. Not false. Not a copy or a counterfeit. To seek God with their whole hearts and come to a deep, rich, absolute realization of who they were created to be. And BE THAT.
I realize that this means that my kids will not always agree with me. They won't always see things the way I do. Or make the choices I would make. But God did not create them to be copies of me. They were made for something much more remarkable than that.
So, anyone want to start a trend with me? ;)
Redefine Cool. Embrace Authenticity. (We'll make bumper stickers and sell them to all the people who want to be cool like us.)
Because there is nothing cooler than being authentic.