“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?
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.