Lily: Eight and a Half

Hey kiddo,

I’m writing this letter at the dining room table with the back door open. It’s the first night in weeks that it’s been cool enough to let the outside in, and it’s marvellous. Missy and I have wine. It’s been a really good, but really hot, summer.

Okay so first off some updates from my last letter. We did get office space, and you’ve seen it and approved it, which is a relief. We’re still doing demolition on the stuff that was there before, and it will be another month before we can use it, but we’re so excited to see it coming to life. Lil, I can’t even tell you – we feel like it’s going to change so much of what our business can do.

We also got you started with lock picks. So far you’ve got me still holding the tension wrench while you work the rake. But you mutter a little “yesss” when you get it open and that’s honestly the whole point.

You just finished a week of video game design camp and you loved it. Sometimes it’s hard to get updates out of you about school or camp, but every night this week we got reports. “Today we’re working on graphics, tomorrow is debugging but I don’t think our game has any bugs.” On the last day your camp did Demo Day, and M and I thought it was a hoot. We were over the moon proud of you, of course, but having a bunch of 8-11 year olds do demo day sounds strikingly similar to having professional engineers do it in a startup, and that was delightful. Well, it was delightful for us, anyhow.

There’s this thing that I think all parents are trying to figure out right now around digital literacy, and we’re right in there with them. We love that you’re learning about tech, equipping yourself to make it work for you. That’s crucial for us, and has opened so many doors in our lives. But you’re also eight and a half now, and that feels a lot different than eight. You’re still a kid, but you’re not a little kid any more. You sound more and more like a tween every day. And while we haven’t seen you pulled too deeply into the social pressures of online spaces yet, we know it’s coming, and it freaks us out a little. We want you proficient, but insulated. We want you to explore, but stay safe.

I don’t remember where I saw it, but long ago at some formative moment in my life I encountered the phrase, prepare the child for the path, not the path for the child. It seems wise to me and I try to remember it when I worry about things like this. Obviously we still stay close to you, watch for tripping hazards we can see that you can’t, whether you’re online or just running around on the street. But more often these days we’re trying to have conversations with you. To let you figure it out and then check with us, instead of waiting for us to say yes. In my last letter to your sis I talk about raising warriors a lot, or possibly dragons. I think this is what that looks like, but that doesn’t make it less scary.

You’re back with your mom this weekend after a week with us. I miss you. The house always feels so full and right when you’re here. But I got pics from your mom of you sitting on a (stationary) motorbike and you look pretty pleased. I’ll want a full report next time I see you.

Love you kid,

Daddy

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