We are fans of The Biggest Loser and amazed at how the trainers Bob and Jillian motivate, and sometimes dominate, the contestants. One thing I have noticed over the past few seasons is that the trainers have become emotional therapists as well. For some reason this seems to bother me a bit.
Granted, overcoming lifelong weight problems is both mental and physical and most eating habits are related to some emotional issues but are either of them qualified to fill the role of a psychologist? It seems to work for them, they have the complete respect and admiration of the contestants and it appears that those whom they are counseling are completely taking it in. And that made me realize that anyone can be a help, an aid, and an expert at anything if the receiver of their guidance believes in them.
Look at the world of blogging, Twitter and New Media. Anyone can be a self proclaimed expert on most any topic and as long as they have an audience that believe them, and perhaps even in them, then they will fall into the role almost by fate. Granted, a PhD or MD behind a name carries a lot of clout but that art is really in convincing a following that you are indeed an expert in a topic and with that, you become more than just self professed.
I often laugh at individuals who are self proclaimed “New Media Experts”. You see a ton of them on Twitter, touting their title, sharing a few links here and there and offering to help show you how to boost your followers. Does having a certain number of followers make them open to the title of New Media Expert? What are their credentials? Aside from their ego, where do they get the right? Did they earn it? If so, how?
I have been podcasting for four and a half years now. I have produced somewhere north of 700 shows (just over 200 with LoveHouse Radio, just shy of 200 with The DaddyCast and combined, over 300 on the Podcaster News Network). I have NEVER pondered calling myself a New Media Expert. I have a lot to learn still and only a handful of people out there, in my mind, can even begin to carry that title.
But that is a bit off topic. My point here is that you can be an expert if you can convince someone you are. At least an expert to them. And this is the parenting angle- convince your kids you are an expert in anything in which you want to influence them. Be the expert in driving. Be the expert in math. Be the expert in healthy food. Whatever you want to have influence over, be the expert. Find ways to convince your audience, your offspring, that you are the expert.
By being the expert in the important areas of their life, you will have influence. You will be able to guide and direct. You will be able to teach and hopefully steer them clear of the potholes and pitfalls. You will be able to use and share your experience.
Granted, you need to pick your targets wisely. Video games and Pokeman are probably poor subject choices to try to convince your kids that you are an expert at. Although you can probably show some expertise in older video games or choice new ones, keeping up with the time commitments and involvement necessary to overcome their challenges to you being an expert on something in their domain is probably a bad choice. Kind of like sitting on the floor when a dog is around- you get in your space, expect to deal with what you get.
So think about what areas of expertise you can focus on convincing them you are the master. What areas are going to help you down the road. And, what ways will be required to convince them now and in the future. Perhaps you are an expert in several areas and so the convincing will take less work. Perhaps other areas will require more “convincing”.
As I have always said, I am not a parenting expert. Around here, it is “Parenting from the Hip”. But, if I can convince a couple of people that I know what I am talking about (and if I keep it to the things I experience then I should at least have some idea of what I am talking about), then perhaps I too can become a parenting expert. Although don’t look for any credentials or letters after my name anytime soon. I am certifiable at times, but not certified.