With passion and wry humor, the former Dean of Freshmen at Stanford makes the case for parents to stop defining their children’s success via grades and test scores. Instead, she says, they should focus on providing the oldest idea of all: unconditional love.
She’s very concerned in this talk with the other side of the coin – not neglectful, uncaring parenting, but parenting that focuses on visible trappings of kid success:
But at the other end of the spectrum, there’s a lot of harm going on there as well, where parents feel a kid can’t be successful unless the parent is protecting and preventing at every turn and hovering over every happening, and micromanaging every moment, and steering their kid towards some small subset of colleges and careers.
What I’m saying is, when we treat grades and scores and accolades and awards as the purpose … What I’m saying is, our kids need us to be a little less obsessed with grades and scores and a whole lot more interested in childhood providing a foundation for their success built on things like love and chores.
She has a lot to say about defining kids and childhood beyond the kind of achievements that lead to admission to the best college. She has a good argument for including chores in childhood. And a serious plea for unconditional love instead of conditional success.
All of which makes me pleased with my post yesterday, about raising kids to be entrepreneurs. I suggested in that post that you don’t push too hard, live your own life instead of theirs, and let them study what they want, not what you want. Among other things.
For a Friday video today, hard to resist. This is an edited collection of snippets of advice from 50 entrepreneurs. I’m not big on following recipes, but these are so quick and pithy they can serve well as food for thought instead.
Nice short video of Scott Cook giving a great example of how surprises come up in business. My Friday video for this week, from Stanford eCorner. He talks about discovering the value of doing simple bookkeeping for people who aren’t accountants and don’t care about debits and credits.
As he tells how Intuit discovered the market for people who don’t know or like or want to know accounting – way back in 1984 – I can’t help recommending to all business owners that we should know our numbers. Getting the basics of accounting is not nearly as hard as you fear. And there is no substitute for the peace of mind of knowing our own numbers.
So, rather than accept the idea that we can’t or don’t want to, how about knowing your numbers?
Friday video today is a pitch for compassion worldwide. The Charter for Compassion organization is rooted in the idea that compassion is at the heart of all religion, a core concept that brings humans together. Think about it: What do all organized religions have in common?
I’ve been a member since I first heard about it. Check it out at www.charterforcompassion.org. Isn’t this something every person with a conscience agrees on? A good goal?
Charter for Compassion Vision
We believe that a compassionate world is a peaceful world.
We believe that a compassionate world is possible when every man, woman and child treats others as they wish to be treated–with dignity, equity and respect.
We believe that all human beings are born with the capacity for compassion, and that it must be cultivated for human beings to survive and thrive. Join to make compassion a clear, luminous and dynamic force in our polarized world. Embrace the compassion revolution.
Charter for Compassion Overview
The principle of compassion lies at the heart of all religious, ethical and spiritual traditions, calling us always to treat all others as we wish to be treated ourselves. Compassion impels us to work tirelessly to alleviate the suffering of our fellow creatures, to dethrone ourselves from the centre of our world and put another there, and to honour the inviolable sanctity of every single human being, treating everybody, without exception, with absolute justice, equity and respect.
It is also necessary in both public and private life to refrain consistently and empathically from inflicting pain. To act or speak violently out of spite, chauvinism, or self-interest, to impoverish, exploit or deny basic rights to anybody, and to incite hatred by denigrating others—even our enemies—is a denial of our common humanity. We acknowledge that we have failed to live compassionately and that some have even increased the sum of human misery in the name of religion.
We therefore call upon all men and women to restore compassion to the centre of morality and religion ~ to return to the ancient principle that any interpretation of scripture that breeds violence, hatred or disdain is illegitimate ~ to ensure that youth are given accurate and respectful information about other traditions, religions and cultures ~ to encourage a positive appreciation of cultural and religious diversity ~ to cultivate an informed empathy with the suffering of all human beings—even those regarded as enemies.
We urgently need to make compassion a clear, luminous and dynamic force in our polarized world. Rooted in a principled determination to transcend selfishness, compassion can break down political, dogmatic, ideological and religious boundaries. Born of our deep interdependence, compassion is essential to human relationships and to a fulfilled humanity. It is the path to enlightenment, and indispensable to the creation of a just economy and a peaceful global community.
This week’s Friday video is one we should all watch. It’s just four minutes. It’s amazing. Incredibly, it was recorded more than 70 years ago, but seems like it applies in every detail to the world today. If you don’t see it here, here’s the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1fMvLbE85E
And by the way, my thanks to my nephew Raúl García Rocha for sending me this one.
My Friday video this week is from another TED talk, Dare to Disagree, by Margaret Heffernan. If you don’t see it here, you can click the link: http://www.ted.com/talks/margaret_heffernan_dare_to_disagree?language=en. We are in very strange times, in my view, based on 60+ years of life in the U.S.A. We need to find a way back to working together and objective truth. And that starts with acknowledging that serious people can disagree on real issues, and that doesn’t divide us into warring tribes. We need to figure out how to disagree.
I find this quote significant:
The fact is that most of the biggest catastrophes that we’ve witnessed rarely come from information that is secret or hidden. It comes from information that is freely available and out there, but that we are willfully blind to, because we can’t handle, don’t want to handle, the conflict that it provokes. But when we dare to break that silence, or when we dare to see, and we create conflict, we enable ourselves and the people around us to do our very best thinking.
My Friday video today, from Stanford ECorner, Mike Rothenberg talks about inviting honest feedback. How to ask for it, how to listen, and how people will go slowly at first. You have to reassure them that you really want the feedback.
I’ll add that in my decades in business, I’ve come to treasure the people who give me real feedback. And I’ve noticed that relatively few of us really ask for feedback and then listen to it, and use it. We all say we want it, but most of us want praise more than real opinions, much less constructive criticism. This is a short video, which I post as a reminder.
Or you can click here for the YouTube source video.
What to math and science have to do with art and creativity? For my Friday video this week, another TED talk: Danielle Feinberg, Pixar’s director of photography. Watch how animated she becomes as she talks about what she does. At about 2:35 or so in, she’s demonstrating how they create landscape with 3D lighting. It’s not the single main point of the talk, but it’s such a great look at somebody who loves with what they do for a living:
There is this moment in lighting that made me fall utterly in love with it. It’s the moment where all the pieces come together, and suddenly the world comes to life, as if it’s an actual place that exists.
I love it when people are in love with their work, and when they find something to do that they love, and pays them. This is clearly the case here. And it’s also a good reminder of the relationship between math and science and art and creativity. Some millennials I know divide the world into quant vs. fluffy. This kind of art is both.
The TED introduction says:
she creates stories with soul and wonder using math, science and code. Go behind the scenes of Finding Nemo, Toy Story, Brave, WALL-E and more, and discover how Pixar interweaves art and science to create fantastic worlds where the things you imagine can become real.
Business owners, startup founders: Do you know debits and credits? If so, cool, you know why I’ve posting this here as my Friday video. And if not, do yourself a favor and stick with this post and this video for a few minutes. You’ll be glad you did. It’s 13 minutes. If you go through this, then, for the rest of your life, for all your business dealings, you’ll know what the hell they are talking about when the financials get serious. Really, I’ve been through this, and it makes so much difference just understanding these basics.
I’ll always remember one of my favorite “this is how I did my startup” talks from a woman who’d made a scaled-up home cleaning service a business success, in Portland, OR. She made a big deal of how “knowing my numbers” became, for her, the secret to living with uncertainty, growing a business, and not obsessing day and night over the business. Once she learned her numbers, she was able to dampen the stress and get things done.
And that starts with debits and credits. Take the time to watch this video. You don’t have to memorize it; you don’t need to know it in detail; you just have to have an idea of how this works.
I run into entrepreneurs and business owners who’ve lived in fear of the phrase “debits and credits” for decades. Don’t do that. Take 13 minutes and watch this video. And then, for the rest of your life, you’ll get it. It’s actually a very easy concept.
For the record, I don’t know Mandi Conley and I have no relationship with this video except that I found it in the public domain and I like it.
Several things that many people take for granted about entrepreneurship aren’t really true, according to this three-minute video offered by the Kauffman Center for Entrepreneurship. It starts with a reminder that it isn’t small business that drives the US economy’s growth of jobs, but rather new business. Startups. And my personal favorite, around 1:40, the myth of entrepreneurs being very young.
You can also click here for the source video on YouTube.