Browsing Tag: parenthood


    Parents’ Love, Shown in One Photo

    September 2, 2013

    Not that I’ll ever doubt how much my parents love me, but if I did, this kind of thing would just wipe it away immediately.

    If you visit my parents’ house, you’ll see this on the main coffee table in their living room:


    That’s my book, U2 – A Diary. It was published in 2008. It’s still out and sitting on that coffee table, five years later.

    They’ve never put it away. I think that’s love.


    Why I Hate “Cool”

    April 25, 2012

    cool-dudeThere’s nothing more uncool than “cool.” And people who feel they have to try to be “cool.” And the things they do or say in the name of being “cool.”

    Yawn. Boring. Dumb.

    To clarify, I’m not talking about the word “cool” itself; if I see something on TV or online that’s interesting, I’ll still say, “Oh, that’s cool” or something similar. That’s not what this is about.

    This is about the bigger version of “cool,” where people try to be something they’re not. (And usually fail miserably at it.)

    The Problem With “Cool”

    Cool doesn’t care. Cool is indifferent. Cool doesn’t think it has to try because … it’s not cool to try. Cool would rather fail than try, because trying isn’t cool. Trying implies caring. And caring isn’t cool.

    Cool thinks it’s above everything else, better than everyone else.

    Cool wants to fit in — as long as it fits in with other cool. Everything else is uncool, and to be ignored (at best) or just outright mocked.

    None of My Heroes are/were Cool

    I don’t know if you can ever learn anything from “cool” people. But I do know that you can learn a lot from uncool people. John Wooden was certainly uncool — maybe the most uncool coach in sports history.

    How cool is it to demand that your players put their socks on in a certain way, so that they’re less likely to get blisters? How cool is it to write love letters to your wife every month for years after she’s died? He did that, too. (I happen to think that’s pretty cool; but if you’re “cool,” that kind of passion is the furthest thing from cool.)

    You know who else isn’t cool?


    They’ve never been cool. About anything. Since day one, they’ve cared and been passionate. I don’t always agree with the things they’re hot about, but I love that they’re hot about a lot of things.

    In fact, here’s how Brian Eno described U2 and coolness in an article about the Achtung Baby recording sessions:

    Cool, the definitive Eighties compliment, sums up just about everything that U2 isn’t. The band is positive where cool is cynical, involved where it is detached, open where it is evasive. When you think about it, in fact, cool isn’t a notion that you’d often apply to the Irish, a people who easily and brilliantly satirize, elaborate and haggle and generally make short stories very long but who rarely exhibit the appetite for cultivated disdain — deliberate noninvolvement — for which the English pride themselves.


    It is this reckless involvement that makes the Irish terminally uncool: Cool people stay ’round the edges and observe the mistakes and triumphs of uncool people (and then write about them).

    I’ll take someone who’s “positive” and “involved” and “open” (those are Eno’s words) every time over someone who’s “cool.”

    My kids are getting to the age where being “cool” is important. I’d much rather they be themselves, no matter what anyone else thinks or says.

    That’s really the only way to be cool — to be yourself, 24/7. We’re all uncool. And the sooner the we all realize that … well, that will be a very cool day.

    (Stock image via Used under license.)

    John Wooden Quote #20

    November 30, 2010

    We played ten times for the national championship while I was coaching at UCLA. Each time we were fortunate enough to win. And each time near the end of the contest when I felt we had the game in hand, I told the team during a time-out, “Now, remember when this game is over to behave in an appropriate manner. Do not make fools of yourselves. Let the alumni and student body do that if they choose. Don’t you do it!”

    Your reaction to victory or defeat is an important part of how you play the game. I wanted my players to display style and class in either situation — to lose with grace, to win with humility.

    That lesson has been one of the toughest things to teach for me as a parent. Sometimes kids tend to overreact to both successes and failures.

    If you don’t know what this post/series is about, see the John Wooden tag and specifically the first quote I posted.


    Music Tells Me I’m Getting Old

    December 26, 2007

    My son, Sean, just turned 10 and is becoming as big a music fan as I’ve been since about the age of 12. Up until recently, Sean has mainly followed Dad’s musical tastes: He loves U2 and has even been to one of their concerts; he listens to Coldplay; and he’s taken a liking to some of the CDs on my shelf like Snow Patrol and Keane.

    All of that is fine from a fatherly perspective because I know the music he’s listening to, and with only a couple exceptions, don’t mind his young ears hearing these lyrics.

    For Christmas, he put several CDs on his list from artists that I know nothing, or almost nothing about: Nickelback, The Bravery, and even Blake Lewis (the kid from American Idol).

    That’s the first sign I’m getting old: When my kids start listening to bands/artists I don’t know. A week or so ago, Sean asked me if Lupe Fiasco’s real name was Lupe Fiasco or that was a fake name? I had to confess I’d never heard of Lupe Fiasco. The shame.

    Then comes the lyrics issue. Do I worry about what these singers are saying in their songs? Of course I do!

    That’s the second sign I’m getting old: When I worry about what my kids are hearing in the music they listen to. Should I listen to every song first to make sure it’s acceptable?

    After thinking about, I decided to go ahead and buy some of these CDs even though I don’t know the artist and don’t know what they’re singing about. Here’s why:

    1. It’s not realistic to think I can listen to every song my son wants to listen to before he does, and approve or disapprove it. Who has time for that?
    2. As he gets older, and as kids grow up faster than they did when I was young, he’s going to be exposed to a lot more in the schoolyard, at his friends’ houses, etc., and I have to accept that’s just part of growing up.
    3. Most importantly, he’s a Good Kid and I have to trust the job we did as parents and trust him to adjust and mature in an appropriate way as he experiences new things.

    But that doesn’t change the fact that I’m getting old, does it? 🙂


    The first hit…

    May 9, 2005

    The 0-fer is done. In the 8th game, Sean has his first hit of his first Little League season. He hit the ball solid, past the mound and out to shortstop. This being the lowest level of LL, there were bobbles and drops along the way a bit — but the bottom line is that Hit No. 1 is in the books.

    He had done nothing more than foul tip a ball in the first 7 games, so you can imagine his surprise on hitting the ball fair. He stood still at the plate for the splittest of seconds, then went down to 1st base as fast as those legs could take him.

    And when he got there safely, every parent in our bleachers was up yelling for him — Great job! Way to go! You did it! And down at first base, I saw him wind his arm back like he was about to throw a fastball, and follow-through with our 1st base coach on the most emphatic high-five I’ve ever seen.

    It was just about enough to bring a Dad to tears……..