Daddy Cool

Father's Day is now over for another year and I very much enjoyed being centre of attention again! It's a great feeling to still be at that stage of life where my children run to the door every day when I get home from work - my daughter is seven and my sons are five and three. It's also particularly rewarding being able to relive my youth vicariously and we've recently dug out all of my old Transformers toys for them to play with. Although watching these thirty year old bits of plastic fall apart in their hands has been quite traumatic!

Another big bonus of having young children is that they all still think I'm cool. I know that the time will soon come when my gorgeous children will morph overnight into terrifying, wised-up, mini-adults. I reckon I’ve got three years, tops. Sometimes I look at the boys (and even the girl) and I can see the cynical teenager in the post.

I can see how it's easy to fall into the trap of thinking they will always see me as someone to look up to but, just because they have treated me as such for a number of years, simply being a Dad is not enough to qualify eternally for this accolade. The only cool Dad's are cool adults already - really, the words 'Dad' and 'Cool' should never be used together.

This got me thinking about the world of digital marketing and how it is still currently perceived as the profession of young and progressive thinkers. However, it may be becoming less so as the older generation (in trying to stay relevant) continue to fully embrace the world of Netflix, wireless printers and smartphones they are being usurped with a rising generation who subvert these advancements and deliberately embrace retro-chic technologies such as record players, vintage clothes and Nokia 3210's. It's clearly not cool to want to be like your parents!

What does the future hold?
With jobs such as 'Head of Digital', 'App Designer' and 'Social Media Manager' not existing ten years ago it's easy to think that by working in these roles you are quite cutting edge but as the majority of companies properly assimilate these into their working practices there will come a time when they will no longer be seen as 'disruptive'. These jobs will be indistinguishable from any other role and will be seen as no different to any other corporate function.

At the moment it's hard to see a time when this might happen as the world of digital is moving so fast. I constantly feel as if I am having to run to keep up, with the speed of developments accelerating rapidly. However, there will come a time when I will peak and become that member of staff, who we all know, who sees no benefit in staying relevant and prints out their emails to read at the weekend or who hasn't yet grasped the concept of a 'Shared drive'. This may be quite hard for some to take - especially for someone like myself who discounted the idea of going into teaching through the fear I'd be spending more time trying to persuade the pupils I was cool rather than teaching them!

My childhood in ruins...
As far as I see it the only option I have with my children is to continue to act like a parent and not a friend. It may be harder to be tough and responsible than to be matey but that is really what children want from their parents. No-one wants to hear about their parent's exploits when they were younger and as a Dad I'm there to be respected, not liked. If I set out to be respected, I might be liked, but if I set out only to be liked, I will never be respected. The age to be 'friends' with my children is when they are 38, not 12.

By mixing a bit of the new with the old this will help in ensuring we all stay happy and don't cross over into each others comfort zones by risking becoming a 'helicopter' parent - and anyway, no-one wants to see a thirty-eight year old man playing with Transformers toys!
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