Reflections as I become a father

I’m not in control of how our child will live her life. Although it is hard not to try, I need to remind myself I can’t succeed.

I wouldn’t let anyone control my life and I would find anyone who tries doing so very disturbing and annoying. I don’t see any reasons why she shouldn’t feel the same.

As I’m about to become a father, I see two important objectives in my relationship with my daughter.

The first and most important one is to understand each other. If the input we give each other is not clear, there cannot be any learning from each other, nor a healthy relationship. To do this, we need to learn to communicate effectively with each other.

In my career, I’ve learned to communicate effectively based on the personality of the people I’m communicating with and being aware of my own’s.

There are many well-known tools that help you to do that with your team. At Airbnb and Taxfix we use Insights Discovery. What are the equivalent tools available for families? I need to research this.

Questions on this area: When and how does a child form its personality? How do you recognize these personality traits? What tools are available? How do you communicate to children, based on their personality? How does personality change in the first years of life?

The second goal is to help my daughter process information and make decisions that benefit her. In other words, to think rationally.

This is extremely hard. We are not 100% rational beings. Our thinking process is subject to many biases and our memory works in ways that often don’t help us learn from the past. Daniel Kahneman well researched and explained this best.

When it’s time to take an important decision, we also tend to easily forget about what we have learned on this subject. I’ve spent sleepless nights thinking about whether some of my decisions were really good decisions for me. If I’m not even sure about which decisions to make for myself, how can I teach what’s best for her?

For important decisions, a Socratic approach seems most appropriate. Asking each other a lot of questions and observing our reasoning process unfold, pointing out biases in our reasoning, and thinking “from both sides of the courtroom”, to keep learning together and become better thinkers.

In the end, the decisions will be her own. Which it’s not virtue signaling for “I’m a cool dad, I let my child take her own decision”. It’s a realization, which leaves me both excited, and apprehensive, biting my lips and sighing with concern, as I will watch my daughter live, make her own mistakes, be happy, sad, and often confused by life, just as I am.

Inspired by Prof. Yuko Munakata’s TEDxCU talk