The meaning of cool

One of the things about an informal educative approach that tries to encourage reflective learning in others is that the learning outcome may not be the one that you intended. One of the other things about it is maybe I should stop being so youthworkery (new word) in conversations with my seven year old, Doh!
We were all at the dinner table* and chatting about the day. My youngest is very into ‘cool’ as an important commodity to be possessed and lived. As we chatted about this he insisted that his older brother “is not cool because he dribbles!”
I challenged this assumption and said that I reckoned being Cool was being happy to be who you REALLY were and not trying to copy others, or not having to become some media idea of what Cool was. He really wasn’t buying this and I particularly wanted him to realize that holding a view that a disability meant you couldn’t be cool just wasn’t true or right. Aha, I thought ….. a scenario for him to reflect on. “Supposing,” I said, “that someone only had one leg! You couldn’t just say they weren’t Cool?”
“No,” he agreed! and I thought, ‘great we’ve got somewhere,’ before he then added,
“They could be cool if they had one leg ‘cos then they could be a Pirate and Pirates are Cool!”
I make a mental note not to do the informal education thing with my seven year old. He sits and thinks about how cool pirates are. And the learning outcome evaporates redundant into the ether.
*I don’t know why we call it the ‘dinner table’ …. it’s not like we have a different table for breakfast and another one again for lunch.

One Reply to “The meaning of cool”

  1. Hmm… Could it not be true but wrong that if someone has a certain dress sense or freckles (never mind about dribbling) then other folk classify them as ‘not cool’ are they not just making a distinction based on a set of parameters that they are giving more reinforcement to in just that moment?

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