Responsible parenting and leadership are a start. In between reaching for the sky (Toy Story rocks).

Screw the darkness. I prefer the lightness of Pop.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Dividends of Childhood

I only had a few more things to do before we left. Just a few. That was it. My focal strength flowed to the MacBook bolted to my lap while I sat in our cuddle chair, the one the Mama and me bought way back before the girls were born.

But while I worked the Mama was upstairs getting ready, and Beatrice and Bryce were natives beyond restless -- bouncing across the living room impatiently while waiting to go to their fun pre-K and preschool event, the 10-year Bridges to Kinder anniversary celebration.

The irony of the cuddle chair isn't lost on me (wider recliner built for two adults); I sit there and work and write a lot week after week, as long as I'm not traveling. Yes, I have an "office" nook away from everything else I work in most of the time, but I'm still in that chair.

Again, just a few more things to do...almost there...and then boom! Bryce jumped from the cuddle chair arm into the space next to me. Over and over and over again. Bea shrieked and hopped and bopped like a crazed bunny until I finally got mad and frustrated -- because I just have a few more things to do!

Although I know I shouldn't have been. Angry. At. All. That's when I checked myself because I knew the girls just wanted my attention and wanted to play.

I raised my white flag and parked the computer on the desk.

It's actually the same with any device  of choice, because there's always the immediate (gratification) need -- that important text or email to answer, there's always that great photo to share via Instagram, or there's always that quickly crafted witticism to share on Facebook or G+, all the while my girls simultaneously wanting the immediate gratification of my presence.

Guilty as charged.

This was all prompted by an NPR article this week titled For The Children's Sake, Put Down That Smartphone. In it one expert argues:

"And when parents focus on their digital world first — ahead of their children — there can be deep emotional consequences for the child, Steiner-Adair says. 'We are behaving in ways that certainly tell children they don't matter, they're not interesting to us, they're not as compelling as anybody, anything, any ping that may interrupt our time with them,' she says."

Am I putting my devices away? And if I don't, do I feel like I'm telling my kids they're not important? No way, Jose.

I'm always going to have work to do, I'm always going to want the immediate gratification of social sharing, but they're not always going to want my attention and play.

So play I did. That was the right choice.

Business is transitory, and so is childhood, but childhood can pay dividends that far exceed any promising business plan.

Just ask an infamous sock puppet (Daddy wrote, while sharing the photo on Instagram).

Saturday, April 12, 2014

"B" Present and Pink

Remember the one about the dad with little girls who's not afraid to dress up like a princess or a fairy, have his picture taken, and even post it online for God and everyone to see?

Yes, I'm the one. Or, more precisely, one of many. No need to split hairs that daddy's like us are more than comfortable in their own skin, don't really care what others think, and yes, it's as much about us as it is our girls. We're good with all that, even if there are those who aren't, and there are.

And that's okay. Because we believe that our little girls needs confident daddy's who aren't afraid to be silly and embrace life, and for the love of equitable reciprocity, have a little gender bender fun. They need to see us as malleable beings, somewhat amorphous, but with enough masculine leadership to not be mistaken anything other than daddy (even if we're talking single daddy, a daddy-mommy combo or a two-daddy combo).

Especially when we're told:

"Daddy, this is for girl's only. No boy's allowed."

To be then followed by:

"Okay, Daddy, one boy is allowed. Come on in."

This doesn't mean that daddy's have to dress up like a fairy princesses to be "present" with their girls, but hey, what about cheerleading?

Remember this?

For the record, the fairy getup was also my choice for "Fun Friday" at work, where each week our Peoplefluent marketing group picks a theme for the team and then pictures follow. We went from Johnny Cash day to Magical Fairy day. Oh, how the team loves me.

So I'm a magical mirror daddy fairy. What's it to you?

"B" present and pink, Daddies. Always.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

The Not-So-Weird Science of Girl Power

"...weird science -- things I've never seen before, behind bolted doors, talent and imagination..."

Of course I want them to be rocket scientists. Of course I want them to be the smartest people in the room, full of talent and imagination and potential. Of course I want them to transform the world for the better.

I'd prefer it not be about the differences between men and women when it comes to "rocket scientist" career paths, but there are unfortunate realities. In fact, although women make up about half of the workforce in the U.S. economy today, less than 25% of them hold STEM jobs (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). That's a lot of untapped talent in the workforce today with many cultural and institutional reasons of why.

I don't think about the fact that our girls are discouraged from learning STEM skills; I watch my girls play and experiment and learn about the world around them, including activities related to science and technology. And although they're only in preschool and pre-K, they're very much encouraged by the strong women mentors around them (teachers, aids and more).

For example, we just went to the San Jose Children's Discovery Museum where one exciting hands-on exhibit after another, including coloring ice blocks, fun bubble making, and a water whirlpool section that shoots plastic balls here and there and everywhere and seemingly defies physics altogether.

Watching their faces light up when exposed to the universe's mysteries is a delight to the Mama and me. We'll keep encouraging them to learn, regardless if they truly become rocket scientists or not, but we'll also do what we can to ensure they're not discouraged from learning STEM.

I have a psychology background and the Mama majored in marine biology, and while we don't literally work in those fields not, we're still thankful we have those foundations. The Mama even went through a physical therapy program years later and now practices PT regularly. And I've been working for HR and recruiting technology companies for 15 years.

While rooting around online today, I found the Million Women Mentor program that was created with the goal of creating a sustainable pipeline of women by mobilizing and engaging one million men and women to serve as STEM mentors by 2018.

Right on. We're in. Join us.