My Daughter Changed Me
We have a few goals here – the first is to leave our corporate jobs and show you a path to that goal as well. The second is more complicated but more important, to be the best parents that we can possibly be. That part we’re still figuring out.
My daughter came into this world on March 22, 2015 – a wailing bundle of energy from the start. I looked into her little eyes, touched her tiny hands, and knew from that day forward that I was profoundly and permanently changed. I never knew I wanted a daughter. But when I saw her, my old life, my old desires, melted away. In the place of the pursuit of money, status, and stuff something new crystallized: a desire to change this world, to build something better than what we have. And a desire to forge her the armor she’ll need to carry that mantle forward.
So here’s what we’re trying to teach our daughter now that we’ve started to find a way out from under our corporate jobs.
#1 Time is precious. She’s 18 months old now. That means we have 858 weekends before she turns 18, 17 holiday seasons, 34 family vacations if we’re lucky. It will go by fast. It’s daunting when we think of how much we have to teach her in that window. We hope that we are up to the task, but we need to do whatever it takes to expand that time we have with her.
#2 – We live in a beautiful world full of miracles. Despite the problems that seem to assail us from all sides, the world is getting better. The arc of history is long and it does bend toward justice. Disease and poverty are receding, quality of life is increasing, war is a fading memory in many places. The world is getting better and will continue to do so! We need to teach our daughter this truth because optimism is a powerful force. In her own life, but also in the broader world.
#3 The world needs to be better and we need to make it better. All those leaps forward – every scrap of human freedom, decency, and honor did not come through hope and optimism alone. They came from countless sacrifices of blood and sweat. Soldiers who stormed beaches, women, and minorities who marched for rights, men and women who changed the face of the world. These tasks are not easy, and few can aspire to those lofty peaks, but we can focus our lives in that direction and climb as high as possible. For too long both my wife and I focused our efforts on the pursuit of money. That has to change. We need to show our daughter that we can, piece by small piece, make the world a better place. Being parents means more than preparing her for the world. Being parents means expending every scrap of energy and skill that we have to prepare the world for her.
#4 We need to be both brave and wise to make those changes. Many challenges will meet her as she grows, and we need to teach her to overcome them. To have confidence, to be brave, to befriend dragons, to fight tyranny, to love. We will teach her what we can, give her the wisdom we have collected, and hope that she can find the same wisdom earlier in her journey.
#5 We need to laugh. The world is a damn funny place sometimes. We can be dour all we want, but sometimes you need to laugh. To put a blanket over your head and run around in circles until you’re so dizzy you fall over. To get tickled until you can hardly breathe. The roll down a grassy hill as fast as you can. To run through sprinklers on hot July day. Laughter, joy, a little silliness is what makes all the rest of it so worthwhile.
Our call to action
Be the best goddamn parents you can be. Teach your children. Give them the gift of your time, your knowledge, your laughter. Show them the magic in the world and show them how to defeat the monsters hiding under the bed. No possession, no job, no amount of prestige is worth sacrificing that. We’ll try to set an example.