Congratulations man, you’re an uncle! Now what? Do you know how to master this role? Fear not, it’s actually not too hard. Let’s see how you can be the coolest uncle out there.
When I first began teaching at a university, I was a bit nervous. How would I be seen by my students? Would I be a popular instructor or would I be that guy – you know, the one whose class you absolutely hated but had to take? I loved my field and had plenty of experience making classes interactive and fun, but beyond that, how would they see me as a person? I sat down for coffee with another new instructor the day before classes began and we started discussing this question.
We concluded that the way to be seen as a “cool” instructor that was likeable was to have what we termed, “a crazy professorial affectation.” In other words, we needed to have something unique that we played up, something that made us different that others, and that became the thing that you instantly thought of when you saw us. My fellow instructor was a New Zealander, so he decided to make that his thing. Me? As silly as it sounds, I chose to have an obsession with American fast food, particularly burgers.
What happened? The students loved it. Within a few weeks, students were emailing me tips on local restaurants serving American-style burgers, asking me for tips on how to prepare authentic American burgers, and touchingly, created a giant poster at the end of my first semester, covered with thank you messages scrawled all over, you guessed it, a large drawing of a cheeseburger.
Back to your new role as uncle. You need to choose your crazy (in a good way) uncle category. They’ll come to identify you strongly in connection with this thing and you’ll have the power to shape their lives in a really cool way. Music? Travel? Food? Sports? Choose one thing and talk about it with them, take them to events related to it, give gifts connected to it, etc.
Do you love music? Play the drums? Get your nephew or niece a drum set and teach them to how to jam! Look at this one. It shouts cool uncle!
Don’t worry about whether or not you’ll be a cool uncle. Just choose your topic, make it your thing, and teach, talk, and gift around that topic. Good luck, you cool uncle you!