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Parenting Dad (&/or Mom): Creatively Influencing Leadership Values Paperback – June 24, 2009
"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
A dramatic coming-of-age story set in the decade after World War II, "Warlight" is the mesmerizing new novel from the best-selling author of "The English Patient." Pre-order today
About the Author
Before I got initial physical custody of Kim and her brother Lance, I had worked in and sometimes I had managed departments or project teams in several "Fortune 500" Companies-3 different divisions of GE, IBM, 2 different Divisions of FMC, Motorola, Applied Materials, and I'd just joined Tandem Computers (which is now part of HP). I enjoyed the challenges of managing and training leaders. Why not adapt my best business and technical leadership practices and values into daily fun skills and present them to the kids? The daily process of learning became a profitable and exciting safari of discovery on our more than 60 routes to school from our home in Silicon Valley traffic. As the kids demonstrated leadership practices, skills, and values, they earned "Creativity Dividends" jointly (team building). The initiator always earned one quarter ($0.25) more than the other child. They experienced the dignity of an earned income and were free to invest their earnings with few restraints. I was a teen in the Temple, Texas "Separate- but-Equal" public school system when the Soviet Union launched Sputnik 1 in October 1957. That earth-orbiting satellite helped me see that my circumstances were like clothing, not like skin. I began to make bold changes to leave my orbit. My mom, Bobbie, a widow and a domestic worker (maid) was very concerned when I woke daily between 02:30 and 03:30 to study a curriculum which I designed and funded during my last three years of high school. I cleaned a department store six days a week before going to high school five days a week. When I got initial physical custody as a single joint-custody dad with my two young kids, I modified the lecture I gave myself 24 years prior, "Kim, Lance, I never want to hear you say, 'Dad, I didn't learn [that] because the teacher didn't teach [that]. The teacher is not responsible for your learning. Kim, Lance, you are. I hope the teacher facilitates instead of frustrates your learning process. Because you're kids and I love you, I'll enter into a covenant with you to help make learning fun and rewarding. However, you know I'm not responsible for your learning." I constantly looked for more ways to share with them the skills I believed they needed to practice in order to become effective contributors and leaders on a world-class stage. One way to determine how they were developing was to share and to rotate on a daily basis, parenting responsibilities with them. I did. We had a blast!
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The neat thing about this story: his kids responded with their own innovative ideas to make the whole parenting enterprise mutual, fun, and educational. My hat is off to Lance: thanks for sharing your inspiring story!
[I'm the author of "A Whack on the Side of the Head: How You Can Be more Creative," and the "Creative Whack Pack" card deck, and also the inventor of the "Ball of Whacks" and "X-Ball."]