Values, Vision and Life Experience

P090412PS-0695 Michelle Obama's speech at the DNC 2012 was amazing. No doubt about it. So many inspiring lines. So personal. So positive. Thinking through the speech and re-reading the transcript, if I have to pull out one line from the speech, this is the one:

But at the end of the day, when it comes time to make that decision, as President, all you have to guide you are your values, and your vision, and the life experiences that make you who you are.

Not everyone is going to be President, but it is so truth that one is guided by one's values, vision and life experiences. So as parents, those are the things that we need to give our children.

Back to Lexington

In the PK's tradition of making important announcements on April's First, it is now semi-public knowledge that I am giving up the city living and heading back to the burbs. At this point I only wished I kept my last house in Lexington. Instead it is now a delicately timed project of selling, renting and buying, in some order between Boston and Lexington. I know I am really going to miss living in the South End. At this point the kiddos are half complaining about leaving "the best house ever". But then they have never had a backyard, nor a private driveway, nor a school that actually has a playground and ball field attached. The pros and cons have already been analyzed in this other blog post. I won't repeat it here. But it is a large part a financial decision. Having stared at risk assessments for over a year while developing WealthMate, the financial implications are getting to me. Also, it seems that, while we are still in the East coast, why not give the kids a bit of the typical American suburban life experience.

Talent from Understanding


What is Talent? Do I have it? How do I get it? This is an often asked question. My son attends the Boston Ballet School. His teacher, a well loved and well known teacher, Luciano, recently explained his thought on talent. My students parents often ask me, "Does my little Holly have talent in Ballet?" he said. His answer is right on:

Talent is a Gift

Some say talent is a gift. There is some truth to that. Having the right body type, or the right physical ability, helps. Especially with something like Ballet. However having the gift sometimes make the student works less hard. Pay less attention. Things come too easily. In the long term, having the gift along is not going to translate to success. In fact, if managed wrong, it could hurt.

Talent from Practice

Practice makes perfect. The Russian ballet schools sometimes share this philosophy. Talent from repetition. Again, there are some truth to this view. But repetition alone is not going to make your great.

Talent from Understanding

70% of talent is going to come from understanding. It is coming from your head. You need to understand why something is done, understand how your body works, understand the ecosystem of your particular field. With understanding, you will know how to leverage your gift. With understanding you will know what to monitor during practice. What do you need to improve.

I totally agree with this view. It goes far beyond ballet, or music, or tai chi. Try it yourself.

Apple Retail Store Staff is the new role model?

The battery in my 8 month old Mac Book Pro seems to be broken. I scheduled a late night appointment at the only Retail store in Boston, near my loft. 25 minutes later, I walked away with a replacement battery and a smile on my face. Those Apple guys and women are oh so nice. They are courteous, professional, passionate, and fun. The Apple Genius handled my MBP with more care then me. The counter staff were friendly and helpful. On my way home one of the staff was heading back to the store, recognized me and said good night. If you were a parent, and your teenager grows up and behave with such manners, professionalism, and people skills, wouldn't you be proud?

Disclaimer -- I have been to other suburb Apple store within a mall and the staff there are definitely not as good. Perhaps it's a urban twenty-something thing here at the flagship store. So at least make those the role models.

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Year End Review 2004

Year 2004 is a very different year for me. I normally, for privacy reason, not talk too much about my personal life on this blog. However year 2004 has been a very personal year. After waiting a long time, I am now the parent of the smartest, cutest little baby in the world (personal bias noted). Therefore, the one big thing that is worth reviewing, is being a new parent. So here are my thoughts and observations for the year on parenting condensed down to one year end blog entry. [ Of course, the little guy has his own private blog that is available to friends and family only. If you think you should have access, send me an email] !

Late Life Parenthood

This little guy (Little G) is my first. Having little G later in life gives me the luxury of having more resources available to him. The top resource being time -- I half planned this, so I managed to take some time off work and spend about half a year with him being an almost full time parent. I am sure that this is a luxury that many parents do not have. This is precious and irreplacable time -- watching him grow day by day.

The only down side of this is that I better stay young to keep up with him as both of us gets older !

The Good and the Bad

Parenting is hard work. It is the hardest thing I have done in my life. I thought flying around the world running start-up speed software development in multiple countries were hard? This is order of magnitudes harder. In the business, and most of the time in the adult world, you can try to reason with others. You cannot reason with a baby. Luckily little G is good nature and always happy except when he is tired. He even laugh in his sleep (I am not kidding you).

The reward of parenting is, as cliche as it is, priceless. The first time he reaches out for me, the first time he cock his head to look for me when I am holding him, the first time I really make him laugh, the first time I manage to have him fall asleep in my arms...

The Deep Thoughts

Things that I think about:

  • For convinience, We are going through so much disposable products. Paper towels, diapers, trash bags, disposable bottle liners. This is not good for the environment I am sure.
  • Similarly, we have to wash cloths on average once a day, wasting a lot of energy again.
  • Should I have used boiled water to make formula? We use Brita filtered water only. It's too late now.
  • Should we have fed him only warm formula? We used room temperature. A friend said the little guy will grow up not liking hot food.
  • We started feeding him all kinds of solid food without much thought. First thing we tried was freshly squeezed orange juice, only to read that citrus juice is probably the worst juice to give him due to the possibiity of allergies. Oh well.