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Great Fathers Trait #3: The Grumpy Old Man & Open Mindedness

September 15, 2011

And we liked it!!!

Remember the old Saturday Night Live skit with the grumpy old man (Dana Carvey) who used to say, “Back in my day…blah, blah, blah and we liked it.”  I know, I know, you walked 5 miles to school, uphill both ways.   Nobody really wants to hear from the grumpy old man because he is stuck in another era.  He has a mental paradigm that is biased towards the past and extremely change resistant.

Please do not hear me saying that everything in the year 2011 is better than in the past.  That is clearly not the case, but let’s not go the other direction and assume that everything in the past was better.  The “good old days were not always so good”.  What about the 1950s?  White picket fences, perfect lawns and Pleasantville, right?  Great era, unless you were a minority or woman who wanted to get ahead or have some power.  The 60s?  Free love, sex, drugs and rock and roll.  Not sure that was the best formula to raise a generation of great parents.  The 70s?  C’mon bell bottoms, disco and the “me” generation, enough said.  The 80s, my generation was of course awesome, except for the fierce selfishness and greed.   The 90s?  Too much bad music, victim hood and general angst.

My point is that every generation has its great points and warts.  Kids today have technology, multi-tasking and research skills that blow away previous generations.  Today’s kids also have extraordinary high levels of anxiety and depression to go along with a serious problem of obesity.

Fathers, we need to be men of the present age, not 20, 3o or 40 years ago.  We need to stay open minded.  Get up to speed on hair styles, clothing, music, texting and social media.  You do not have to like it all or approve all of it, but it will help to know what is going on with your children.  Stay with the times and you never will hear yourself say, “Back in my day…”

Patrick Donohue is a Life Coach in Oak Park, IL.  Contact him at

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Mahesh permalink
    September 15, 2011 5:34 am

    Always well written and well said

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