“Dad! That is so Old School!” That’s my daughter complaining that my taste in music is trash. At first, I’m not sure what she means by ’Old School’, but my not-so-Old-School buddy, Joe, explains it to me later. Apparently, I am old-fashioned. That is my club.
Being Old School in this generation means being the guy who can’t stand on one leg and wear his socks. It means being the uptight parent who never lets his kids hang out with the other cool guys at school and smoke weed during those short breaks.
I’ll be honest. My kids probably don’t even believe I can open a Facebook account, let alone Tweet. As an Old School dad, my job is to buy them expensive Apple hardware without taking my time to know how these gadgets even work.
I’ve seen lots of modern dads get upset when their kids have a meltdown just because they missed out on a school trip. Parents are getting depressed and worried over things as petty as a 6-year old falling off a bike. Not to say that you shouldn’t care, but sometimes you need to ask yourself – Am I raising a human being or an egg?
We are training our kids to be entirely dependent on us, almost as if we are sure we will be there for them throughout their lives. But things don’t work like that mate. Sometimes you’ve got to work to get some discipline and get those spoiled brats to behave and rely on themselves. As parents today, we are faced with the burden of having to deal with a weak generation of kids that cry when they can’t have whatever they want. But how did we get this far?
I’ll admit it. I am too cool for this generation – and I am totally okay with that. As an Old Schooler, I take my time to understand who my daughters are associating with. Nowadays they are teaching our young children how to look up to semi-literate but ‘twanging’ movie stars and DJs who can barely even spell the word ‘psychology’.
Chuck Palahniuk, in Fight Club, writes:
“An entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables, slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need. We’re the middle children of history man, no purpose or place, we have no Great War, no Great Depression. Our great war is a spiritual war, our depression is our lives. We’ve all been raised by television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires and movie gods and rock stars, but we won’t and we’re slowly learning that fact and we’re very pissed off.”
It’s obvious that he is talking about this imprudent generation, and from one father to another, this is certainly the worst time to be a Dad.
I find it quite disturbing, and rather annoying, whenever I run into a group of girls at the mall eating ice cream and ogling at boys who walk with their pants below their knees. All I’m thinking about is “Does my daughter do this too?”
At this point, you’re probably thinking that I’m just another wounded parent ranting over things I can’t change –and perhaps you are right. As a man who became a Dad at 21, I can certainly say that I want a better life for my daughter. She is still young (9 years old), but it worries me that one day she will be crying herself to sleep because of a boy, and I won’t get to know about it.
When I was growing up, we didn’t have much. Over the years, I had to develop a clear target; to extricate my family from the paucity we lived in, and while I haven’t entirely reached this goal, I have tried my best to keep my family catered for.
As I approach my dotage, I constantly worry about our children. What ambitions do they have? Is it not true that we, parents, are guilty of promoting a culture of conspicuous consumption, where success is measured by the amount of ‘Oh’s and ‘Ah’s our children can get when they strut catwalks and say lots of nothing as they text on those damn phones? You might say that I am a little offside on the latter, but in an obviously circuitous way, answer this; are you really setting a good example to your kids by being the ‘cool’ parent?
All is not lost though. As fathers, it’s our responsibility to reclaim our manly duty to guide our kids to make harsh decisions for their own good. No more “Daddy can I hang out at Jason’s tonight?” or “Daddy can I borrow your Porsche so I can go out with my friends?” Redeeming these children from the claws of empty, baseless and uneducated materialism is no longer an option. Be the Old School Dad who doesn’t shy away from being strict with his children for their own good.
That’s what I am doing for my daughter. That is why I am proudly an Old School Dad – because I know what’s good for my child.