As the year draws to a close, we turn from trends in technology to a topic closer to hearth and home - what we teach our children. Now, while it's true that out in the real world there are hierarchies of rank and power and earnings, at home it's pretty much a level playing field. Parents, one and all, wrestle with the challenges of child rearing, and what and how to teach their children in a complex world.
So, here is this year's edition of EDA Unplugged. I'm very grateful to everyone who has contributed - for their candor, sincerity, and good cheer. It's been a joyful thing to assemble.
The request that went out ...
Last year's request for EDA Unplugged 2002 asked for the best/worst of 2002 and/or 2003. There were a variety of responses. I'm hoping for the same variety this year. However, I've got a new topic. This one's a bit sentimental, so be prepared. As this year draws to a close - one that's been full of both war and signs of economic recovery - I'd like to hear from your CEO, if possible, or somebody up there in the upper echelon of the company on the following:
“What I teach my children”
Now, don't groan. Surely you and yours would much rather discuss the latest gadget or the economic prospects for your bottom line, so if this isn't something you want to participate in, nothing's lost. But if it is something that you or your client would like to chime in on, please do. It could be whimsical, you know - it doesn't have to be somber. For instance, I like to tell my children that a big part of being an effective employee is just showing up sober and on time each day - and that often times that's easier said than done.
Okay, I look forward to hearing from you. By the way, even if you're not a CEO - for instance, if you're in PR - I'd still be happy to add your contribution to the article.
Thanks a lot,
The responses that came in ...
I believe that the greatest lesson I can teach my 15-year old son is that of self-worth. Beginning in their earliest moments of life, our children develop their sense of self-esteem based upon how we treat them, what time we spend with them, and what value we place on them, which in turn, reflects upon how they view the world and their place in it. On a daily basis, I let Max know that he is valued and cherished with my unconditional love and supportive words to help him through his day and its challenges. But, even more importantly, it is through my actions that I reveal to him his priority in my life. Since Max was only 4, we have had a standing “Mom & Max” date night that has become sacred
to the both of us. This is time we spend without a phone, TV, or computer anywhere in sight, just him and me, talking and doing things we love doing together. While other parents may complain teenagers are tough, I believe that they are only as hard as we make them out to be.
Francine Bacchini, ThinkBold Corporate Communications, LLC
I thought your question was a great opportunity to talk to my two sons, aged 10 and 5. I asked the question and the oldest said, “Chess and jokes,” as well as “Star Trek.” He often asks me about the 'history' surrounding the stories presented on the Next Generation series, which is a favorite. Over the past few months I have taught him electronics and classes at Sunday School, as well. When asked the question, my youngest replied, “Square dancing, jokes, and tying shoes.”
Graham Bell, Senior Director of Marketing, Nassda Corp.
The values I demonstrate at home are very similar to those I live on the job. I teach my children that the strength of the family as a unit is greater than that of the individual. I want my sons and daughters to understand that they are accountable and responsible for their actions.
Ray Bingham, President and CEO, Cadence Design Systems, Inc.
What I teach my children:
- To respect all people and be cosmopolitan in their outlook.
- To give their best in all things.
- To focus and organize their thoughts and actions.
- To enjoy life and have some fun.
Phil Bishop, President and CEO, Celoxica
I would teach my children responsibility, charity and self-reliance.
Dennis Brophy, Chairman, Accellera
I teach my children that family is everything. When you die, what do you want on your gravestone: “I was a key executive at a publicly traded high-tech company,” or “I loved my family, taught them life lessons and was loved in return.”
Susan Cain, President, Cain Communication
My son is not very old yet, so my teaching is along the lines of “Please stop doing that to the kitty.” However, from the perspective of what I'm planning to teach him once he grows old enough to understand, here are the six things I would most like to instill in my son:
1. A love of his Creator. Time's oldest question is, "Why am I here?" I've only been able to think of one answer, so I'll teach him that.
2. A love of his parents. A mother and father's love will always be there, whereas everyone else's is conditional.
3. A love of his relatives, including ancestors. Stay strongly connected with family, and appreciate the many past lives who made ours possible.
4. A love of mankind. Learn the joy of doing things just to see others smile and laugh.
5. A love of nature. Take in it's beauty, but preserve it so future generations can appreciate it too.
6. A love of curiosity. All intelligence springs from here.
Dino Caporossi, Vice President of Marketing, Hier Design
Whatever you do, make sure you're learning.
Whatever you learn, remember it when you're doing.
Steve Corey, President of the Board of Directors, TDA Systems
My children are unique creations of God and I encourage them to recognize that fact. I discourage them from following conventional wisdom because what is conventional today tends to be obsolete tomorrow. That they are choosing to be actors, writers and musicians rather than engineers or lawyers, and that they have developed unique interests tells me they have listened to that encouragement. They may be poor, but they will never be obsolete.
Lou Covey, Principal Director, VitalCom
These are the thoughts I most consistently note to other elementary school parents in the arena of being consistent and persistent as a parent. [Mat is our fourth-grader, soon to be 10, and the last of our three kids.]
“Mat, the hardest part of being your Dad is those times where I need to tell you what to do. Ordinarily, I support or even applaud anyone's individuality and/or creativity. But, sometimes I need to teach or reinforce some choice of behavior, phrasing, or consideration I want you to have (or make). So, I have to push you to adapt to my desires in this situation, because that's the way I want (you) to be in the world. Hopefully, you'll use this (learning) as a base for building your own set of experiences and choices, as you grow further into a young adult and then an adult. And even if you choose to chuck it away in the future, at least you'll know how to handle this again - being polite,
completing your homework on time, socializing or playing with others - when you're really out on your own (after you've turned 18!)”
Joe Daniels, Documentation Specialist
I am teaching both of my children the game of chess, so they learn how to be able to look for alternatives and to develop the patience to succeed. A chess game can be long and frustrating, so it is a good game to learn. I hope I show them by example that they should not to be scared of trying something new.