Popular culture has long valued the hipster – the trendy character who embraces what is new and rejects what is old.

From the billions of dollars spent on Madison Avenue convincing people to buy what they don’t need with money they don’t have to impress folks they don’t know – to the billions spent on cosmetics and plastic surgery to try and help the old look young, there is an endless draw to the bright and shiny.

There’s nothing wrong with keeping up with some trends, of course. Resistance can be futile and even downright embarrassing. Consider The New York Times’ reaction to news of Orville and Wilbur Wright’s first flight in 1903:

“The flying machine which will really fly might be evolved by the combined and continuous efforts of mathematicians and mechanicians in from one million to ten million years.”

Six years later, the Washington Post wasn’t any more optimistic or open to the feasibility of flight:

“There will never be such a thing as commercial aerial freighters. Freight will continue to drag its slow weight across the patient earth.”

So, in many ways, we must evolve with the times – but only so far.

Social conservatives are often mocked and maligned and accused of being stodgy and uncompromising. In fact, the first printed reference to the term “Fuddy-Duddy” dates back to 1889 and a minister named Hamilton Smith. He was quoted in the Galveston Daily News. “I’m a minister and I try to do right,” he told a reporter. “I object to being represented as an old fuddy-duddy.”

But he shouldn’t have been offended – and nor should we be bothered by such a charge.

That’s because the world would be better off if there were more fuddy-duddys – men and women who hold fast to what is right and reject what is wrong.

Families are more likely to thrive when children are raised in a married two-parent home. When values like courage, courtesy, kindness, honesty, and respect are modeled, everything just goes better.

Cool dads aren’t needed. But conscientious ones will win the day.

Our 17-year-old son recently mentioned that one of the more off-putting things for kids his age comes when parents try too hard to act cool or hip. They don’t expect parents to be trendy – they expect them to be responsible. Some moms and dads nevertheless struggle with this reality.

The popular comedian Nate Bargatze, who is 43, drove this point home in a stand-up set when he admitted to once hanging out with a 23-year-old. “You get it dude,” he said to the man. “We’re just a couple of young dudes kickin’ it!”

He then relayed that a 45-year-old came up to them, and Nate, wanting to project his coolness and youthfulness, responded by saying, “Why don’t you beat it, old man!”

I’m happy to be a fuddy-duddy. At 51, I know I’m not cool in Madison Avenue or culture’s eyes – but so what? In my mind, what’s cool is being happily married and reveling in the role of being both a husband and a father. It’s cool to be home, to be surrounded by people I love, and by people who love me.  I may not be keeping up with all the latest trends, but when I see the direction culture is trending, I’m very much “cool” with that fact.


Photo from Shutterstock.