How to Talk to Our Kids About Wanting to be “Cool”

Real People: Mixed Race Little Boy Baseball Cap Silly SunglassesEvery adult remembers the cliques we had in high school. The intellectuals, the jocks, the comedians, the drama kids, and of course the cool kids. 1985’s The Breakfast Club was a truly accurate account about how social circles used to be in high school, long before there was an internet, Facebook, Twitter, iPods or smart phones. But technology aside, some things unfortunately haven’t changed: the desire to be one of the cool kids. The cool kids still wear the right clothes, listen to the right music, and are invited to the right parties. Everyone looks up to them, because they’re cool. It’s cool to be cool. Ask any kid over 10!

While I’ve written on the topic of bullying, and the painful isolation that it causes, there is another form of isolating fear that strikes our kids at a much younger age nowadays. It’s their very typical desire to fit in with others and ultimately be part of the “in” crowd. The fear comes from the possibility of not fitting in or being different than what the world classifies as “cool”.

What does “cool” mean, anyway? I had to think about this. Being cool may be an incredulous need for attention. Its pay off is the instant gratification around every corner–every day–by everybody. But I still don’t think that’s the heart of the beast. No, I think being cool is actually rebellion in its purest state. It flies under the rebellion radar much of the time, because cool kids are even liked by those who in authority over them–(maybe because these adults still long to be cool themselves? Who knows.) We know that cool exists to “exclude” rather than “include”. Cool is therefore shallow. It can be a contradiction to what we know is true, which is that God created us to be in relationship with one another.

But what does God think about being cool? To be honest, God really makes a big deal out of wanting us to love one another and be kind to each other. He never specifies to love or be kind to “just a few”. Nope, He is inclusive in His command.

God wants to be the MOST important thing in your life. That means that your own popularity, or desire to be cool should be nowhere near as important as making sure that God is #1 in your life! If He isn’t, then you may need to re-evaluate your priorities. Exodus 20:5 “I am a jealous God.” Putting that much time and energy into being cool, takes time away from building our relationship with God. And that’s NOT cool! God made each of us exactly like He wanted. We are His masterpieces!!

I’d like to say that this is purely an adolescent problem. I’d like to say that we adults simply outgrow the need to be seen as “cool”. But in reality many of us also fight the desire to be accepted by society, which means we must adhere to a set of standards that may not be synonymous with the truth of God’s Word. Sometimes being able to reach the heart of our kids takes some intense prayer and the healing of our own wounds first. We need to ask God to help fix that brokenness in ourselves, so we can more effectively talk to our kids about this topic.

Lisa Strnad is a weekly contributing writer/blogger to What’s in the Bible? and Jelly Telly. She has been a homeschooling mom of two, who works independently in Christian media in the areas of writing, promotions and marketing. She lives with her husband and children in Nashville,TN. Follow her personal blog posts onTalking Like A Girl.

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