I was once sitting on a beach next to Greg Daniels. He had just returned from Indianapolis where he was doing research for a new show he was developing for NBC about an optimistic Midwesterner working for local government.
I asked whether or not he enjoyed the visit to my home state.
"It’s funny that some people call it Nap Town."
I replied, wounded, “Why do they call it that?”
Greg stared at me, looking for a hint of humor and finding none. Finally, sparing me, he smiled and said ”I don’t know” and stood up to fetch one of his kids dragging a kayak just offshore.
Parks and Recreation and Leslie Knope debuted a year later.
“DIY has done so much for me, It has reintroduced to me being myself and not like, just trying to do things that my friends like so they think i’m cooler. I’ve turned into a pretty awesome summerologist, a minecrafter, a gamer, a lego builder, paper airplane builder, a chatterbox, a typer, a rat lover, a daredevil, a scaredycat, a fairy house maker, an interior designer, a fashion designer, an exterior designer, an architect, a builder, and most of all, a maker.”—Hermione Kitty (via diy)
1. Your wife will, at some point in the first year, go through some form of identity crisis. She’s no longer a sister, daughter, friend, or wife—she’s a mother. And however much a blessing that is, the nuances will screw with how she perceives the world and vice versa. When she’s locked herself in the bathroom over something seemingly trivial (no doubt fueled by exhaustion) and is ranting about who she is and what she’s become, be ready with kleenex and ice cream when she opens the door.
2. As much as you’re partners, your wife has 80% equity to your 20% (and the corresponding responsibilities). Your job is to be *great* dad, but in the early days it’s to be an *amazing* husband. PS. See point 1.
3. Sticking with the business metaphor: your kids are employees. You are owners. The company started long before with you and your wife and will keep going strong after the kids ship off to school. Kids are, oddly, temporary in a way that your spouse isn’t (or shouldn’t be). Yet so many couples build their lives *around* their kids, rather than *with* their kids. Subtle and overt pressures make this easy—like workaholics, you’re celebrated for how you slave over children—but over time this focus channels too much energy away from the core and couples drift, often putting their emotional needs into their children (who for many years easily give that energy back and replace the spouse). Be mindful of this. Remind yourselves that in order for the kids to be healthy, you both have to be healthy, with each other. Create this pattern from day one and never stop.
”—Court and I are 8 weeks out from being parents. I’ve been asking men I admire for advice to prepare. This was one reply from an entrepreneur I correspond with regularly.
“Today, San Francisco’s younger workers derive their job security not from any single employer but instead from a large network of weak ties that lasts from one company to the next. The density of cities favors this job-hopping behavior more than the relative isolation of suburbia.”—Kim-Mai Cutler on SF’s dilemma.
“Because of DIY, I just discovered my just turned five year old can read and write. I made him a profile so he could participate in DIY with his big brother. He’s been on it constantly, messing around, posting garble, or so I thought. When I took a closer look, however, I realized he’s captioning all his videos and photos with phonetic spelling..and he seems to be completing some of the challenges all on his own. Thanks for the motivation, DIY!”—Letter from a Parent (via diy)
What usually happens when someone thinks of building on a piece of land? He looks for the best site - where the grass is most beautiful, the trees most healthy, the slope of the land most even, the view most lovely, the soil most fertile - and that is just where he decides to put his house.
People always say to themselves, well, of course, we can always start another garden, build another trellis, put in another gravel path, put new crocuses in the new lawn, and the lizards will find some other pile of stones. But it just is not so.These simple things take years to grow - it isn’t all that easy to create them, just by wanting to. And every time we disturb one of these precious details, it may take twenty years, a lifetime even, before some comparable details grow again from our small daily acts.
If we always build on that part of the land which is most healthy, we can be virtually certain that a great deal of the land will always be less than healthy. If we want the land to be healthy all over - all of it - then we must do the opposite. We must treat every new act of building as an opportunity to mend some rent in the existing cloth; each act of building gives us the chance to make one of the ugliest and least healthy parts of the environment more healthy - as for those parts which are already healthy and beautiful - they of course need no attention. And in fact, we must discipline ourselves most strictly to leave them alone,so that our energy actually goes to the places which need it.
“I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce, and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain.”—John Adams, in a letter to his wife Abigail.
This summer, my son Noah and I discovered DIY and fell in love. So far, he’s earned 11 skills, with many more to come!
In the process of earning his Data Visionary badge, Noah created a public transportation survey that went viral! He was featured on the Huffington Post and retweeted by people like Om Malik and Tim O’Reilly. Over 1,000 people took his survey.
Noah was invited to tour SurveyMonkey and give a presentation on his survey! We showed the team DIY.org and how much Noah has been inspired to do since he got started on the site.
We just love how DIY teaches kids that they can learn skills—like data analysis!—that would normally be considered too “big” for kids. Watching him manipulate his survey results, I was, frankly, a little awed. We’ve come a long way since the beginning of the summer.
Since he discovered DIY, Noah has baked scones, written and performed his own song, made a video about surface tension, edited a photo of himself to look like a zombie, and, yes, run a Brown Bag lunch presentation for a room full of adult data professionals. He has done so many more things than we would ever have thought possible at his age — and there are dozens of skills left to learn!