The Cool Factor
For those who have spent any amount of time working with teenagers, you know the importance of the cool factor.
There is this unwritten code of what is cool and what is not. Oftentimes, the ins and outs of what makes something cool leaves us adults scratching our heads. I have found that dabbing it up and acting chill are generally considered cool. Hugging and smiling in pictures are on the opposite end of the cool spectrum.
In January, a group of three teenagers and one almost teen met together at Frankie’s Fun Park for a Sib-Link visit. Bonded for life by their sibling bonds, this was the first time all four of them were able to be together in person in a year. For a few hours, these youth had an opportunity to be with their siblings. They had the opportunity to be kids.
"When they first saw each other, they ran to each other and hugged, and it lasted about two minutes. The emotion was tangible." ~ Elise, Sib-Link manager
I suspect they all planned to stay true to the teenage code of coolness, but something happened. The dab that was supposed to transpire upon first sight turned into a hug, a hug where tension drained from their bodies. They had fun together. They even let the photo booth document their smiles that day.
Although sometimes necessary, kinship care and foster care are not cool. Siblings are often separated and those relationships feel the strain of distance.
That is why sibling visits among youth affected by foster care are so important.
The sibling bond will never go away, but the cool factor, it is negotiable. These hugs and smiles remind us that maintaining sibling connections is something bigger than any unwritten rule of coolness.
For those who have spent any amount of time working with teenagers, you know the importance of the cool factor…