My Children Will Know

“I wanted my kids to know me…I wasn’t always there for them, and I wanted them to know why and to understand what I did.”

That was the answer Steve Jobs gave to Walter Isaacson, author of the first authorized biography about the man who put an iPod and iPhone in the pocket of millions.

“I wanted my kids to know me.”

I read those words over and over until I began to question their meaning. How could his four children not know their father? Wouldn’t a billionaire be able to carve out a week here and there to jet his family off to Sun Valley to ski together? Or rent a yacht off the coast of Bermuda? I can’t picture the Jobs clan slumming it at Wild Waves. Doesn’t money buy time with your loved ones?

Maybe not.


My point isn’t to pass judgment on Steve Jobs or any other father. I don’t recall my father accompanying me on a field trip during my grade school years. But he more than made up for it when I reached high school, and he’s continued to put a premium on spending time with me and my family.

I wonder if the flip side to possessing a brilliant and laser focused mind that creates some of the world’s most sought after products is a reduced desire to spend time with those at home? Is it possible that he could recite every detail of the iPod, down to the internals, but couldn’t name a song on his son’s playlist?

When I began this blog, I didn’t have children. I also had few readers so I wrote whatever came to mind without considering who might come across it. Technically, it wasn’t very polished, but I consider it to be the most interesting work I’ve recorded. It was raw. But it was me, and that’s what I imagine my children reading one day when I’m no longer around.

Had I considered that my kids would one day have access to it, I probably would have stripped every ounce of personality from it. I’m glad I didn’t do that even if it means answering a few questions about part of my life I’m not exactly proud of. I suppose I could delete the posts, but what would that accomplish? I can’t delete them from my past. Those experiences are what helped form the father they know today.

Plus, it’s not as if I can fool my children. It doesn’t take long before they ascertain how invested I am in their interests and their lives. I may as well write how I feel instead of sanitizing it for the few people who may not agree with it. If I write one thing, but act entirely different, my children will know.

Yes, I want my kids to know me.

The real me.

4 thoughts on “My Children Will Know

  1. Be patient with me here. It may take a second for my point to make sense.
    I was watching “19 Kids and Counting” last night (the reality show about a family with 19 children). They spent several minutes devoted to the mother of the family trying to wakeboard for the first time. Riveting stuff, no?
    But I found myself laughing and enjoying it. Because moms are so rarely fun like that? No, because it made me think about my own mom. How rarely we see parents as something other than parents. We so very rarely see their real personalities- like the athletic, daredevil girl who just happens to also be a mother of 19. I’m glad her children got to see how fun she could be and that she can wakeboard!
    It made me think of my own mother, and while she’ll never wakeboard, she’s pretty funny sometimes. Put her in a room with her siblings and they’ll make anybody laugh. I wish I could see her as herself more often, and less as a mom.
    I hope Steve Jobs’ children did get to know him as something other than an engineering genius.


  2. I had a similar reaction when I read why Steve Jobs agreed to the biography. I’m hoping that like most good parents he is more critical of his parenting than his kids are. Most parents I know are too hard on themselves, expecting perfection when that would be the worst thing for their kids. The best parents teach their kids how to be humans with grace and how to love.

    I’m more than happy that what I got out of my “relationship” with Steve Jobs is technology that “works” – hopefully his kids got more than that.


  3. When I started my blog, I also had the intention of writing down my experiences – hoping one day my daughter will read and learn from my success and failures. I believe it’s important to write down our life stories.

    With Steve Jobs, I can’t help but to think what will his “official” biography say about his dark side? It’s no secret that he was a mean and foul-mouthed person, who used other people to gain notoriety. If his biography that transparent, then his children will benefit – ie. don’t make the same mistakes and treat other people like that.


  4. Great post, and great comments, too. I agree with Colby that parents are usually too hard on themselves. Jobs may have been a better parent than he believed.

    I also want my kids to know about my mistakes. It is the low moments in our lives that make our kids realize we are human. Then when they make mistakes, they can look at their parents and say, “Well, Mom and Dad messed up, but they got through it, and so will I.”


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