Thoughts on Raising Kids.

I just had my 3rd kid last week.

My wife and I had the hardest time naming our kids, more so this last one. It’s interesting in life we (as humans) normally give things a name after we get to know them: an orange wasn’t named an orange before we saw an orange, a hammer was not named a hammer before someone wonked someone on the head with it.

Once you name your child, you feel like you are choosing Her/His destiny. Like if we named them Zeus, I would expect that kid to literally spit lightning. Also, on the other side, naming is one of the first jobs you have as a parent where you gain external validation from your peers. “Good name, strong name”, or “Where did you get that name from?” As parents we are constantly looking toward society to grade us, which there isn’t really a progress bar for success as a parent, which is why so many parents use college, or university as a progress bar, thinking that those brands represent the “well rounded child.”

So what is progress? How do you gauge your success in life, which is really the success of your parents.

I’ll divide it into two pieces for my thoughts: there is a goal and then there is process.

Actually Marc Andreessen talks about this in reference to venture capital in their ten year anniversary podcast. I’m not making a “investing is like raising children” reference, I just think that goal orientation can be more about obsessing over process than obsessing over the goal: “my kid will go to Stanford” is a way different goal than, “My kid learned how to build a house.” I personally like the “My kid learned how to build a house” goal.

My goal for my kids is that they become the most “THEM” that they can become. Now that seems like something that would be a difficult goal for me to track, but only because we don’t really know who they are yet. They are creating the rules of the game, while building the product. What I can do, is make hypothesis on how to generate individual thinkers, and gauge the experiments.

So what will my process be? I’m not sure, I’m still learning to be a parent. This is what I want though:

I want my kids to think for themselves, but process the opinions of others. I want them to see the beauty in things. I want them to understand what both success and failure feel like. I want them to have the mental capacity to challenge themselves physically and mentally. I want them to have skills that allow them to empower their imaginations.

I am willing to change all or any of this as my abilities as a parent grow.

Now that I have a general framework for my goal as a parent. I think that I can come up with experiments for each of my kids that falls into these buckets.

So now, what process to I get to obsess over?

  1. I need to show up.

  2. I need to listen and teach.

  3. I have to identify their strengths and weaknesses and build process for them.

  4. I have to challenge them in ways that society doesn’t.

By Adam Draper

I ponder as a VC.

It's a quick one minute read to make you think, smile, or laugh.

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