I learned a valuable lesson today at the growth hacking conference in Tel Aviv and it had nothing to do with marketing. It had to do with parenting. This post is dedicated to my first born, sweet little boy. Thank you for being compassionate on your old man 🙂
My Son Lost His Pencil Case
See, the other day, my son came home from school and his pencil case was missing. It was a 3 section case that contains basically every piece of school supplies he has inside f it. They call it a “kolmar” here in Israel. And it was gone. He made some kind of crazy excuse, which truth be told I didn’t really doubt at all. Something about how his teacher needed to borrow a pencil so he took out his case, lent her one, and then he doesn’t remember what happened to it.
But I was frustrated. “How could you lose your pencil case?” “That was so irresponsible of you!” We went to go look for it together. And when I couldn’t find it, I probably made him feel like crap then too. Some horrible passive aggressive punishment to destroy his self esteem.
Even this morning, I told him I was going to buy him a new case, but I probably didn’t really say it in the nicest way.
And Then I Lost My Notebook
There I am at this conference in Tel Aviv. My computer was dying (poor planning) so I took out my notebook to write down a few tips. The day progressed like any other with good speakers, a stop at Facebook to visit and old friend, and then a visit to Stratasys to see 3D printing in action, and then it dawned on me… “WHERE IS MY G-D DAMN NOTEBOOK!!!!”
“I MUST HAVE LEFT IT AT THE CONFERENCE!”
I am panicking.
Every note I have written down in the past 6 months is in that book.
So I am driving, trying to make sense of this, explaining to myself that its going to be ok, when it dawned on me…
I deserve this.
I deserve to lose every single thing I had written down in that notebook in order to learn this lesson.
I Gotta Learn to Chill Out and Accept Mistakes
He is a boy. He loses things. It happens. Clearly I lose things too.
I walked in the door, and reminded him about his missing pencil case, and I saw that look in his eyes, thinking how disappointed I must have been at him.
But then I came clean and told him I lost my notebook. Immediately his expression changed from dejected to sort of confused, and then what looked like relief and validation. I explained to him that I lost my notebook too, and I was wrong to make him feel bad. We all lose things and its ok. Mistakes happen and that I was sorry.
We had a moment.
He said, “it’s ok, I forgive you” and gave me a hug. I didn’t deserve it, but I gladly took it.
I would happily lose that notebook any day just to make me a better parent. And I am thankful for that moment of clarity.
(And now that I have learned the lesson, if anyone sees it, please let me know 🙂 )