I had a conversation with my almost 16-year-old son about life the other day.
It had all of the elements of a father/son talk, including the one where I shook my head and wondered how my own father didn’t kill me because I recognized the echo of my own words.
I told him I would like to Facetime with him every once in a while because it would be good to see his face and he told me he is not a Facetime kind of guy.
We went back and forth a bit and I suggested it would be good for him to see my ugly mug once in a while.
And then I said something that stopped him in his tracks.
“Dad, how can you know that?”
“I know more and see more than I say. Never mistake silence for ignorance.”
The Wrong Kind Of Attention
We have had conversations about being aware of our surroundings and paying attention to who our friends are.
Made a point to remind him how easily those we hang out with can suck us in to situations we might not want to be a part of.
“Dad, I am not like you. I am not a guy who likes to be the center of attention. I am not that guy.”
Funny thing is I am not really that guy either but it is fair to say I don’t have a problem speaking in front of crowds or acting goofy when the mood strikes.
Still the older I get the more I find myself enjoying standing just to the side of the spotlight.
It is a great place to be part of the action if you want or to stand back and people watch.
“The wrong kind of attention doesn’t refer to moments where you play the fool or act like a class clown. It is a reminder that individuals can invite the wrong sort of attention too.
You don’t have to be in public or school, it can be the websites you visit online.”
Children & Online Safety
My kids have had cellphones and computers for a while now and didn’t receive them until after we had conversations about online safety.
We have had follow up conversations since then to make sure they remember the importance of what they can or cannot share online and to advise them about digital footprints.
I want them to understand that everywhere they visit online involves leaving a digital trail and that sometimes those digital crumbs provide far more details than they might realize.
So I showed them some of the information from my own stats. They got to see how I received some visits from the US Senate and Department of Agriculture.
They saw how it broke down whether it was mobile or a desktop device and all sorts of other demographic information.
“Dad, what do people do with this information and why do you look?”
I told them about how marketers use it to try and sell more stuff and about how I find it to be interesting to see who visits the blog.
“Technically I could use this information to focus on building a niche. I could see what posts I receive the most traffic to and then build more content around it.
It is a good way to secure more traffic.”
“Dad, that sounds really boring.”
I laughed and said focusing on the “content marketing” side for a personal blog can be boring but that I take a different approach.
“I love to write and it is part of how I experience the world. It is where I think out loud and figure out how I feel about some things.”
Teenagers & Blogs
What I neglected to mention is how there are a couple of technical issues that need my attention here.
Or rather I didn’t say I had taken a stab at them and found my frenemy Frustration waiting for me.
The solutions to those few issues didn’t work and neither did the few I tried afterwards.
Blogs and teenagers share the ability to frustrate a writer/father. But a smart man remembers his Tolstoy and doesn’t demand an overnight solution.
Time and patience go a long way to helping you figure out how to fix the technical issues.
Can’t say that time and patience can be used to fix a teen but they are useful in making sure you don’t lose all of you hair.
Of course if you are me you might call your teen “Little Dude” and remind him not to mistake your silence for ignorance about what he is doing.
Never hurts to make them wonder if maybe, just maybe Dad really does have some sort of superpower. 😉