Thursday, February 1, 2018

Four things I wish I'd told my children before I peaced out

I'm heading to Santiago, Chile on Friday morning, as part of Startup Chile. Although I will be back in the United States a couple of times in the next 7 months, I doubt I'll be back in California and, the way our lives are, I doubt I'll see my daughters much, if at all.

Last week, I met up with Ronda before she headed to Colombia and I knew I'd probably see her only for a few hours over the next several months, when she's getting inducted into the International Sports Hall of Fame, and then I need to get back to Chile and she needs to get back to wherever the hell she's head off next (as if the lady heading to Santiago has any room to talk).


 I felt like I should have had some more profound things to say than,

"I love you and don't forget your passport."

Later in the week, I had brunch with my daughter, Jennifer, and her family and she commented,

"Do you realize that this will probably be the longest I have been apart from you since I was born?"

Jenn went to Santa Monica College, then to San Francisco State University, which is a short plane ride away, then went to graduate school at USC and then to work in Los Angeles.

Jenn's Baby is just as cool as she is

That REALLY made me feel like I should have some profound advice, but we were kind of busy between the mimosas and chocolate covered strawberries and checking out the duck pond.

So, a little belated, here are some things I want my daughters to remember.

1. Good people snowball. I met a really good guy, Fidel Rodriguez, when he asked me to speak at a youth conference he organizes. He introduced me to Hector Verdugo, at Homeboy Industries, where they do wonderful work helping people move from gangs to college and jobs. When the staff from Spirit Lake Vocational Rehabilitation Project were in town, he invited them to visit their project. It reminded me of a lecture I attended by Sidney Harman where he talked about being friends with an attorney in his neighborhood just because he was such a good person. That attorney introduced him to a young minister - Dr. Martin Luther King. Make an effort to spend time with good people.

2. Don't live your life to impress other people and you'll be a lot happier. Jennifer is the least well-known of my daughters, so much so that many people think I only have three children.  She is a good mother, a good teacher, a good wife and does pretty much what she wants. I am 100% certain that Jenn doesn't care at all whether you even know she exists.

3. After the first unthinkable challenge you overcome, the next one is easier.  Maria quit a safe journalism job to co-found 7 Generation Games . I went to Japan for my junior year of college, speaking little Japanese and knowing no one. Now, that I'm heading to Chile, I look back and think "If 18-year-old me could handle Tokyo, I'm sure I can succeed in Santiago with all of the resources and knowledge I have now." Julia is planning to study in Costa Rica over the summer. All of these choices are on the right path, wherever it happens to lead.

Whether it is changing careers or changing countries, take that leap of faith! You'll have a bigger, better, more fearless life and you won't regret it.


Mayan jungle
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4. Everyone falls. It's getting up that matters. I used to think that judo saying, "Fall down seven times, get up eight" was stupid. I was wrong. Ronda has had some hard falls in the last couple of years. She picked herself up, decided what would make her happy and went forward with it. (Oh, if you are thinking of posting some comment about "Oh, are you proud of how she swears, and does X, Y and Z"  Go fuck yourself. I am damn proud of her. She's not perfect but neither are you and too bad that your mother doesn't love you as much.) We all make mistakes. You probably don't talk to anyone else as much as you talk to yourself in your own head, so don't beat yourself up (verbally) when you make a mistake.

Have to get back to work and packing. Help a sister out and check out one of our games. You can even get Making Camp for free.