Geez-Louise, Dad (J.K.)

Churn this around in your head.  It’s not that adults produce children.  It’s that children produce adults.

I was mulling about children in light of relatively new evidence that my teenager doesn’t think I’m as cool as she did when she was, say 6 years old. Or even 12.  Or even last year.  I have gone from amazingly cool to occasionally embarrassing. I was dismayed to feel the umbilical chord stretch for the very first time this Fall. We have had such a great run that I thought we would be immune forever. However, I am accepting of my new status partly because I have hope. That the chord will bounce back like a taut elastic.    In time.    Indeed, I am certain of it.

Because I too felt embarrassed by my own dad growing up. Painfully at times, telling my classmates about whole grains and the benefits of vegetarianism and meditation. But I’ve gotten past that. Or maybe the world just caught up?

Well, to be honest, he embarrasses me still. With different things. Here’s a current example; in his just-released TEDx UW talk, he shows a picture of me in hospital, clutching my IV pole and – hold on gentle readers – wearing a non-Stephens’ Sisters Shopping Diet hospital gown.

Joking aside, all the above is a rambling preamble for his wonderful talk. Check it out:

Truth is always stranger than fiction. When people ask me about my dad, I never know where or how to begin. So I’m super stoked that his talk is out. It’s a tip of the iceberg introduction: his paintings, his inspiring life path, his marriage to my (equally interesting) Indian mother and yes even our live liver donation story (now you are in on the hospital gown reference — Heck I’ll embarrass myself if it spurs someone else to donate their liver.)

On the quest for transparency, truth and social justice, it’s normal to embarrass your kids occasionally. Right? But every so often I’m surprised when my munchkins beg in stereo, “Mom please don’t talk about pesticides with [so and so]’s parents.” I smile quietly.  Sometimes I can’t help but say “You will understand when you’re older.” I feel that sharing valuable information with my fellow humans is worth a little un-comfortability. Because if you always stay within your cocoon of ease, can you make meaningful change?       Can you?

What do you think? I want to know.

I’ll close this post with the words of Russell Brand, who will certainly embarrass his kids. (A lot):

“Rebel children, I urge you, fight the turgid slick of conformity with which they seek to smother your glory.”

5 thoughts on “Geez-Louise, Dad (J.K.)

  1. Ginette McCoy

    How wonderful it must be to have a loving and devoted daughter such as you, dear Gurdeep. Despite the fact that I never had children of my own, I am of strong opinion, that as a general rule, we are able to tell a lot about the level of parenthood given, by the offspring it produces. It’s kind of a cute though, that you are able to remember that you were once a teenager, and that now, it’s your time to experience the wrath of it. Lol

    Although it might sound presumptuous of my part to say so, I am, none the less, fully convince, that all will turn for the best. Soon enough,you’ll see, it will be them who will embarrass their own children while you’ll be having a well-deserved laugh!!!

    Loving Regards

    1. Gurdeep Stephens Post author

      Dear Ginette

      Thank you for your sweet reply 🙂 Thankfully we can laugh about it it now, which is healing. Part of the issue is that only 2 parents in her year actually pick up their kids (now that they are old enough to walk, bus etc home). And being an old-school school, those kids are picked on for it. So after my big shock, now when I see my daughter after school, I try to discreetly make eye contact before waving and calling out to her. If she’s with those peers who think it uncool to acknowledge parents, she avoids my gaze and I putter about, so she knows I’ve seen her. I might talk to another parent, keeping her in sight but not calling out to her. When she emerges from the group, I walk a little distance until those kids are out of sight.

      Then she gives me a hug and an apologetic smile!

      What do you think about pushing boundaries in a gentle way so that you never are out of your comfort zone?

      Do you think that makes for effective change?

      Love G

  2. Ginette McCoy

    I am not sure that I fully understand the question and its implications, or that I am even qualified to answer, but I believe, that a kind and gentle approach to life in general, is way more effective than to forcefully impose our view on others…


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