“Great song! Crank it up, mom.”
When my eldest got to the age where he started thinking he was cooler than me, I was determined to find a way to demonstrate that he in fact was wrong. This here was my deliverance. My teachable moment.
The rock song was from the 80s–MY era! Loud and proud, I screeched the lyrics and did the best air guitar a driver can safely pull off. I was feeling pretty superior having shown the boy a thing or two. Until I glanced over at his owlish eyes, huge in disbelief.
“MOM! DON’T! SING!”
Apparently I had ruined the whole song for him. Why? Because I had stepped outside of who he thought I was, and into a role he knew I wasn’t. (Never mind that I actually was once in fact, cool. Er, cooler than I am now.)
I’m not that person I was back then. I’m still a rocker at heart, but my musical tastes now bend more toward Skillet or Family Force 5. And I definitely keep my headbanging to a minimum–having matured and all.
Parents trying to be hip can come off looking like real idiots, kind of like the guy in this gangsta shirt–the one my son’s friend wears. I giggle every time I see it because the message makes the point so well.
It’s a good lesson for anyone who writes or speaks to audiences. You have to communicate in a way that seems natural for you. It’s okay to admire other writers, actors, performers or entrepreneurs and even do the things that made them successful. Just don’t try to be them. (Once in my 20s when I first started anchoring the news I tried to channel my inner Connie Chung. Major fail!)
Who have you tried to be?