Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Advice for our daughters

Since my daughter is not yet 2, it's a little weird that I am thinking about what I want to teach her about men and relationships when she's older but that is where my wandering mind is right now. Perhaps it's escapism from the fact that the economy -- and perhaps our personal finances -- are swirling the drain right now.

I just finished reading "The Last Lecture" by Randy Pausch. As I'm sure everyone knows, he was a well-known (in his field) computer science professor who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer when his three children were all under the age of 6. With only months to live, he poured some of his remaining time and energy into a last lecture to give at Carnegie Mellon, where he had taught. The larger point of the lecture was to impart some wisdom and life lessons to his kids.

The part that really got my attention was something he wrote about for his one-year old daughter. Thinking of her and having her father die so young was especially hard. Of all his kids, she was the one who would have no memories of her father. His advice for her was something he learned from a woman friend, and it makes so much sense:

"When it comes to men who are romantically interested in you, it's really simple. Just ignore everything they say and only pay attention to what they do."

I found myself sharing this very simple advice with a heart-broken friend recently. I also wished for a time machine so I could go back to my roller-coaster dating days of long ago and take this good advice to heart. If there is any way to save my daughter all the wasted hours of analyzing the nonsense that a guy has said or not said to her and just cut to the chase, I'll take it.

There are a lot of little pearls of wisdom in Pausch's book. Most of them are not original. As he admits, he is a big fan of cliches. But finding that very clear bit of advice that might help my girl some day cut through all the b.s. of dating was worth the hour or two of my time that it took to read the book.


jstinmn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jstinmn said...

Erica - sorry I posted and then deleted - I saw some spelling errors (typing too fast). Anyway, just wanted to say I enjoy reading your blog and how you go from politics to your family. I look forward to seeing what you have to say about the VP debates!