Bob recently came across a letter he wrote to himself as an exercise in English class.

"Dear Bob" it started. (Name has been changed to protect... Bob.)

"I really hope you have all your hair If you don't I hope you don't wear a stupid hat cause that is really lame Also dude if you are really fat you should just kill yourself now Really" - Bob

Ouch. Junior high Bob was a tough room and apparently had no need of punctuation.

Bob's priorities have changed a little since the latter part of the disco into the early Duran-Duran years when he wrote the "really" letter. He is no longer preoccupied with hair, weight or public perception. Well, not weight at least. His understanding of age, fashion and maturity has changed as well.

In short, Bob no longer feels the need to be cool, i.e.: fashionably attractive or impressive, stylish, sophisticated, fresh, up-to-the-minute, trendy, funky, with-it, big, happening, hip, groovy, phat, kicky, fly or stylin'.

These days Bob is more concerned about being a good father and provider. He wants to be healthy; He wants his spouse to like him (very important), and he wouldn't mind getting a raise and a better title above his name at work.

Things Bob doesn't care about? Having the latest anything, and as long as his phone works, he doesn't care what it looks like; A tan; Happening underwear; He could care less - but not much.

Bob has lost his cool, and he is not concerned. Bob's kids, on the other hand, are right smack in the middle of their cool and are a little embarrassed by their dad. According to Bob's daughter, (as per her Facebook page) "He says "awesome" way too much and dances like he is having a stroke."

Bob's cool

  • A good dinner that is low in carbs

  • Keeping the baby entertained

  • Family coming first

  • Kids figuring out who gets the TV during prime time without parents having to referee

Bob's not cool

  • Having to look and be like everyone else

  • Being known as the best dressed

  • Labeling people as uncool based on some arbitrary standard

  • Spending hours a week on a lawn and having to take the kids to the park, so they stay off it.

There is some motivation for Bob to retain cool Kool-aid house status. If Bob's house is cool, as far as the kids are concerned, then the kids hang out at Bob's house - and if his is the hang-out house, then he knows what his kids are up to.

But Bob doesn't go overboard. He is focused on what is important, and as long as he keeps his focus he will have the influence he needs to rear his children to be strong and sensitive.

Bob's ultimate cool dad list

  • Problem solve. Be the fix-it dad - not just with the DVD wires or speakers, but with situations and kid drama. Get the kids used to knowing that Dad is willing to help. Dads have learned something in all those years they were being cool. Share some of that knowledge.

  • Focus on the kids. Be actively engaged in your child's life. Go to their city league basketball game. Cheer loudly and hold up a homemade sign.

  • If you say you are going to do something, do it. If you make a family rule, follow it. If you say you will be there to pick them up at 4, be there at 4. Trust is cool.

  • Focus on the positive. Catch your child at the moment they are doing good things and complement them. Try doing this in front of their friends.

  • Let kids experience the natural consequences of their actions or choices (unless it is unsafe for them). If your son wants to wear his cool new sports tank top to an evening football game in November, let him. Either he will learn or not.

  • Be known for being "huggie." If your kid professes to not be into hugging, then tell him it helps your self-esteem, and that a happy parent grants more privileges.

  • Make it a habit to tell your child you love her even if she does stupid things or messes up. Don't say "What is up with you?" Do say "What is up with that kind of behavior" or "This behavior isn't like you..."

  • Roll with the punches and teach your kids to do the same. Show your child the difference between a knee-jerk reaction and a thought-out response.

Is this the same cool list as Bob's children have? Bob doesn't really care as long as his kids know he loves them and that he would sacrifice his time to be with them.

Now, that's cool.

Adult Bob's letter to Jr High Bob: "I'm an adult dude. I like my hat, and I am concerned with important things. You grew up to be a good dad. Really - Bob.

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