This fantastic post is by Brandon P. Duncan!
Brandon Duncan is the author of Brandon the Duncan – Fatherhood in 4L, a dad blog. In addition to writing there, he also participates in several online writing clubs, contributes to multiple other sites, and is currently working on a children’s book. Connect with him at brandontheduncan.com.
Not long ago, we were all teens. We all had a parental figure; and most of us thought they were kind of dumb—until we grew up a little. Now we see that they were actually pretty smart and knew what they were talking about. Guess what? That’s you now. You are a parent, a role model, or the cool uncle or aunt to someone. How, you ask?
There are many new bloggers out there right now, and most of them are like teenagers. They’re bulletproof. They’re all going to be successful and blow out the glass ceiling. They’re going to be rich with no effort. I mean, “how hard can it really be?!”
You’re shaking your head right now, aren’t you?
I know you are, because I’m that teen, and I see what you pro-bloggers and experts are trying to do for me… I just don’t know how to process it all—yet. You know what you are talking about; you just forgot what it was like to be new—to be a teen.
I’m going to compare a few statements that we all either heard from our parents, used ourselves as teens, or have heard from our teens to some lessons in social media and blogging. Maybe these will help you refocus some of your helpful efforts.
That’s not a good idea…
I have been ‘round and ‘round with Margie on this. I am constantly in flux on my blog. Don’t get me wrong, the content is pretty much consistent, but the more I learn, the more I change things. I know I need to stop and be stable. But, like a teen, I just need to experience it for myself. I need to make mistakes that I can learn from. You mean well, just go easy on me. I have to do this.
Why can’t you be more like little Johnny?
Because little Johnny is a butt kisser in public and has learned how to be on your good side. Please stop telling me that I should do what “A-lister-numero-uno” does. Sure, they did some pretty amazing things and found success; but if you look way back when they first started? They were not perfect. Nobody huge got to that point by following the rules. Let me be a better me, ok?
You just don’t understand!
Look, you were a beginner at one point. You do remember what it was like…sort of. Let me remind you that mainstream internet was just being used in colleges in the early to mid-nineties. In the grand scheme of things, this is all new. So yes, you may have been an early adopter and have been blogging for eight to ten years; but look at how much things have changed in that short amount of time. I don’t even know what my role is in this (blogging) world yet! Cut me some slack—maybe I don’t want to have my daddy’s blog!
I learned it from watching you, okay!
Remember that old anti-drug commercial from the 80’s? Don’t forget we are looking to you for advice and to show us what right looks like. You can’t expect me not to write lack-luster content on occasion, when you do it too. Accept that we are doing what you do, not always what you say. Nobody is perfect, but you still have to practice what you preach.
I can do this on my own.
Offer me advice, give me the tools I need, and let me come back to you if I have questions. Don’t be a helicopter parent and stand over me, saving me from every bump and scratch. You have your audience and blog, I have mine. Be a good mentor, but don’t try to stand too close. I mean, jeez, you’re embarrassing me! I’ll be careful, and I’ll tell you ‘I love you’ at the house, ok?
I know what I’m doing.
This is sort of like the ‘not a good idea’ bullet from earlier. What I mean is that I know what I want to be doing—I just might not know how yet. Let me get it figured out for myself. If I get stuck, I will ask you, trust me. Give me a little space and let me fall down once or twice. I’ll be ok. Please just don’t give up on me. I’ll come around eventually.
I know you’re right. But I will never admit it.
Trust in your ability as a teacher, guide, and mentor, will you? More than likely, I already know you’re right about a lot of stuff, but I’m going to resist telling you that for a long time. Sure, I’ll give you a smile now and then, and I really do want you to be proud of me for doing a good job. But, just like being a parent, you have to accept that sometimes it can be a thankless job and we won’t give you credit. Please don’t let your feelings get hurt. It’s not our intention.
Thanks for what you did for me. I really do appreciate it.
The golden day that we all patiently wait for finally comes, ladies and gents. I will come home one holiday and tell you that life is hard, and that I really do appreciate everything you sacrificed for me. You will get your props and you can look back, reflect, smile, and know that I’m a good kid. You did a great job. And we love you for it.
You can even say “I told you so.”
I know I missed a few good ones, but unlike a lazy teen, I don’t want to crash on Margie’s couch too long and empty her pantry while I’m here. So, now it’s your turn. Do you see any other comparisons between our teen years and social media? Let’s hear ‘em!